Offshore wind energy development in the exclusive economic zone: Legal and policy supports and impediments in Germany and the US
The development of renewable energy as a major component of efforts to combat climate change serves as the impetus for the location of energy production facilities in coastal ocean space. Yet, while many coastal nations see offshore renewable energy development as an important way forward, the speed and manner in which these efforts take shape vary dramatically. This paper assesses the role of coastal nations’ domestic legal and policy frameworks in the siting of offshore renewable energy facilities in areas under federal jurisdiction. It focuses on two nations—Germany and the United States. Both have articulated their interest in renewable offshore energy, but while Germany has approved many offshore sites, recent US proposals have for the most part stalled. Based on a review of legal and policy documents, laws and regulations, academic literature, and interviews, this research identifies and compares factors that figure most prominently for the development of offshore renewable energy policies. Comparisons are organized under four categories: the regulatory framework, the public's role in siting, targeted economic mechanisms, and indirect mechanisms. The paper concludes with observations about prominent supports and impediments and suggestions for further research.