Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Jonathan J. Miles



Offshore Wind Energy in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region and the EPA Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule

Kamil E. Armaiz Nolla

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have been experiencing a rapid rise since the start of the Industrial Era. Human activities have been recognized by the scientific community as the main contributors to CO2 emissions by way of the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Scientific consensus about human-induced climate change has been recognized since 1992 by the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate. Since then, global efforts to mitigate climate change have been underway. On June 2, 2014 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a proposal to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide produced by existing power plants. The plan is based on state-specific emission rate targets for the power sector in order to achieve a national carbon emission reduction of 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

The plan proposes measures known as the Best System of Emission Reduction, or BSER, to achieve the required targets. One of these measures is to use renewable energy technology that is already part of the renewable portfolio standards that have been established by each state. This work looks at the role of offshore wind (OSW) energy as a significant contributor to CO2 reductions. The U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region, specifically the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia, holds an abundance of strong and steady offshore winds already identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Wind Energy Areas.

The Clean Power Plan does not include OSW energy as part of the BSER due to the current absence of operational OSW facilities in the United States, preventing the calculation of a benchmark development rate target. However, this dissertation makes a compelling case for the integration of OSW energy as a significant player in the EPA Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule through scenarios that consider different levels of OSW deployment for the Mid-Atlantic Region within the Plan’s methodology calculations.