The demand for “green power” and the advance of overseas offshore windfarm developments has prompted interest in similar projects in the US and has led to a study being conducted into windpower generation opportunities off the coast of Massachusetts and New York.

The first such project is under development in the United States and planned off the coast of Massachusetts. The 425 MW wind farm would consist of 197 wind turbine generators perched atop towers over 250 feet tall and located three to five miles offshore and covering twenty eight square miles in Nantucket Sound.

If approved the project developer expects to start construction during 2004 and to begin delivering power to the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) sometime during 2006. The project could represent a capital investment of over $500m.

Wind generates barely 0.1 per cent of America’s electricity, but that share is growing fast.

A record 1500 MW of windpower capacity is expected to go on line this year across the country. One MW powers about 1000 homes, but windmills rarely operate at full capacity. The new operations will be enough to power more than 300 000 homes.

In 1999, the US federal government set a goal of making wind power 5 per cent of the nation’s electricity output by 2020.

Development of offshore wind farms is also experiencing tremendous growth overseas. Denmark is leading the world in development of offshore wind farms with two in operation and plans to generate forty percent of its total electricity from the offshore resources by 2030.

The United Kingdom has the most promising offshore resources in Europe with over thirty three percent of the total potential. Other countries considering development of offshore wind farms include the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, and Ireland.

Future announcements of development in some parts of Asia and South America are anticipated. Research by Industrialinfo.com has identified development of offshore wind farms, which if built would supply over 3500 MW and represent capital expenditures of nearly $4bn.