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Publication Date
17 February 2021

Extreme Wind and Waves in U.S. East Coast Offshore Wind Energy Lease Areas



The Outer Continental Shelf along the U.S. east coast exhibits abundant wind resources and is now a geographic focus for offshore wind deployments. This analysis derives and presents expected extreme wind and wave conditions for the sixteen lease areas that are currently being developed. Using the homogeneous ERA5 reanalysis dataset it is shown that the fifty-year return period wind speed (U50) at 100 m a.s.l. in the lease areas ranges from 29.2 to 39.7 ms−1. After applying corrections to account for spectral smoothing and averaging period, the associated pseudo-point U50 estimates are 34 to 46 ms−1. The derived uncertainty in U50 estimates due to different distributional fitting is smaller than the uncertainty associated with under-sampling of the interannual variability in annual maximum wind speeds. It is shown that, in the northern lease areas, annual maximum wind speeds are generally associated with intense extratropical cyclones rather than cyclones of tropical origin. Extreme wave statistics are also presented and indicate that the 50-year return period maximum wave height may substantially exceed 15 m. From this analysis, there is evidence that annual maximum wind speeds and waves frequently derive from the same cyclone source and often occur within a 6 h time interval.

“Extreme Wind And Waves In U.s. East Coast Offshore Wind Energy Lease Areas”. 2021. Energies 14: 1053. doi:10.3390/en14041053.
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