Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
6 June 2023

Cost of Energy from Large Offshore Wind Arrays

Print / PDF
Powerpoint Slide

The power produced by an offshore wind farm (i.e. cluster of wind turbines) is primarily determined by two factors: (i) The magnitude of the wind resource and (ii) The magnitude of wake-induced power losses due to individual wind turbines operating downwind of another turbine so in the wind ‘shadow’ caused by extraction of momentum from the atmosphere by the wind turbine rotor. This second factor is also strongly dependent on the prevailing atmospheric conditions. Here we quantify likely wake-induced power losses for the wind climate of the US east coast and for a range of possible wind turbine deployment scenarios.


Offshore wind energy is a critical component of many low-carbon energy portfolios designed to reduce carbon emissions while generating electricity at moderate cost. The United States of America (US) is one of 46 countries that agreed to phase out coal at COP 26 and is pursuing the deployment of 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 as part of this strategy. Here we provide new simulations that inform the best deployment strategies for wind turbines within areas auctioned by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to maximize electrical power production at the lowest cost.


large areas with an excellent wind resource, low water depths and proximity to large electricity markets. Careful planning of wind turbine deployments in these offshore wind energy lease areas (LA) is required to maximize power output and to minimize wake losses between neighboring wind farms as well as those internal to each wind farm. Here, we use microscale numerical modeling with two wake parameterizations to quantify annual electricity production (AEP), including losses due to wakes from other wind turbines and wind farms, and develop and apply a levelized cost of energy (LCoE) model to quantify the impact of different wind turbine layouts on LCoE. The modeling illustrates that if the current suite of LA is subject to the deployment of 15 MW wind turbines at a spacing of 1.85 km, they will generate 4 to 4.6% of the total national electricity demand. The LCoE ranges from $68 to $102/MWh depending on the precise layout selected, which is cost-competitive with many other generation sources (see figure).

Point of Contact
Sara C Pryor
Cornell University
Funding Program Area(s)