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Confronting Climate Change

Taking the ocean into account is critical for successfully addressing climate change, and addressing climate change is critical for the future of the ocean

From Policy to Power

Federal Actions to Deliver on America’s Offshore Wind Potential

Climate change poses the biggest threat to our ocean and to the future of the planet. Its harmful impacts can be mitigated by decarbonizing our energy grid. Achieving major carbon emissions reductions in the electricity sector will require development of hundreds of gigawatts of new renewables by 2050, and offshore wind represents the single largest ocean-based mitigation opportunity in both the United States and globally. Offshore wind is a critical part of making a rapid transition to clean energy and has enormous potential to reshape the way that energy is produced in the United States. While the promising future and multiple benefits of offshore wind—energy production, climate mitigation and economic benefits—are within reach, achieving these sweeping advantages while advancing ocean health is only possible if the current challenges facing the industry are addressed.

Ocean Conservancy and Perkins Coie partnered to outline actionable recommendations that if implemented would significantly increase the effectiveness, efficiency and regulatory certainty of U.S. offshore wind. These recommendations would help achieve the multiple topline priorities for our nation’s ocean, coasts and communities—climate mitigation, conservation and the equitable accrual of multiple benefits promised from offshore wind development. The recommendations in this report were developed by legal and policy experts and informed by discussions with federal ocean policy experts, federal agency staff and ocean users from sectors including conservation, maritime, as well as commercial and recreational fishing.

These recommendations can largely be implemented with a combination of administrative policy changes and regulatory updates. Taken collectively, the recommendations in this report would speed offshore wind energy towards fully realizing its climate mitigation benefits with significantly less conflict, ecosystem impacts, litigation, time and resources spent.

The cover of a report with the words: "From Policy to Power: Federal Actions to Deliver on America's Offshore Wind Potential" laid over a bright blue sky and ocean with yellow and white wind turbines jutting out of the water.

Despite the tremendous potential for offshore wind energy, there are only two operational projects with a total energy output of only 42 megawatts, which means the U.S. has to scale up offshore wind energy outputs a staggering 700 times in the next eight years. If done right, offshore wind energy can help mitigate the climate crisis by preventing 78 million metric tons of C02 emissions and inject $12 billion in annual capital investments along both coasts while creating thousands of good American jobs.

Amy Trice

Amy Trice

Former Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Planning Program

Our analysis found that key federal agencies like Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) can enhance their collection of information, interagency coordination, and address the high demand for efficient environmental review and authorization decisions. None of these obstacles are insurmountable and our recommendations lean heavily on adaptation of existing legal and regulatory tools for this emerging clean energy industry.

Ted Boling

Ted Boling

Perkins Coie

Ocean Conservancy and Perkins Coie’s From Policy to Power report offers comprehensive recommendations for improving the U.S. offshore wind planning and permitting system. ACP stands ready to work with Ocean Conservancy, other ENGOs, and the Biden administration to improve the permitting process and unlock the economic and environmental benefits the industry holds.

Heather Zichal

Heather Zichal

American Clean Power Association


  • Amy Trice, Ocean Conservancy
  • Ted Boling, Perkins Coie
  • Don Baur, Perkins Coie
  • Laura Morton, Perkins Coie

Boling, T., Trice, A., Baur, D., and Morton, L. From Policy to Power. Ocean Conservancy, Washington, D.C., 2022.

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