Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


Wind power is increasingly being used as a source of renewable energy in order to create electricity for the power grid in the United States. Among renewable energy sources, wind power comes second to hydropower in the creation of electricity for the United States, though it is on track to pass hydropower. While there are many wind farms on land, companies and the United States government are beginning to look at offshore wind farms. This paper explores the wind energy sector in the United States, while also examining wind energy’s contribution to the power grid, and its financial and natural capital savings. In fact, the United States just opened its first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island in December 2016. Chapter One discusses renewable energy as a whole and how the new offshore wind farm has already hit many milestones. In order to accomplish this, data has been taken from the IPCC, as well as environmental economics, electricity, and other greenhouse gas emission reports to show how wind energy, and more specifically offshore wind energy, is benefitting the United States. Chapter Two addresses the environmental design of the wind farms by looking at site planning and the engineering and architecture of the turbines. Chapter Three examines the environmental politics surrounding offshore wind farms which includes the acquisition of permits, receiving proper funds, and the approval of the local people. Therefore, there is a strong political aspect that needs to be considered with the creation of wind farms that cannot be overlooked, despite the appealing quality of sustainability that comes with the turbines. Chapter Four analyzes the economics of offshore wind farms by looking at their financial, social, and environmental impacts. Lastly, Chapter five takes a look at the future by assessing what can be gained with the creation of more offshore wind farms, and what the United States’ wind energy plan should look like.