U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced seven offshore wind awards for projects in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Virginia. As part of the Energy Department’s broader efforts to launch an offshore wind industry in the United States, these engineering, design and deployment projects will support innovative offshore installations in state and federal waters for commercial operation by 2017.

Offshore wind represents a large, untapped energy resource for the United States – offering over 4,000 GW of clean, domestic electricity potential, four times the nation’s current total generation capacity. According to a new report commissioned by the Energy Department, a U.S. offshore wind industry that takes advantage of this abundant domestic resource could support up to 200,000 manufacturing, construction, operation and supply chain jobs across the country and drive over $70 billion in annual investments by 2030. Offshore wind represents an economic and energy opportunity that could mirror the success of land-based wind development.

Last year, land-based wind power represented 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions in the U.S., accounting for $14 billion in new investment. Nearly 70% of the equipment installed at those U.S. wind farms – including wind turbines and components like towers, blades, gears and generators – is now from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35 percent in 2005. The Production Tax Credit (PTC), which is set to expire at the end of this year, has been a major driver of this tremendous expansion according to the Energy Department.