Costs and federal funding are a primary concern when looking at the installation of offshore wind farms, at least in the United States. Even with the aid of grants, offshore energy projects have experienced trouble securing the right to proceed due to anticipated costs. Since offshore wind energy is new in the U.S., the costs associated with initial trials are significantly higher than what they might be in the future. Thus, offshore wind projects are being undercut by cheaper alternative energy sources already in place (i.e. solar power, hydroelectric, and natural gas). While the price of energy generated by offshore wind turbines will not remain high indefinitely—advances in turbine design are reducing prices already—the electricity from offshore wind is currently considered by some to be too expensive to fund.12

Installation procedures and maintenance, specifically regarding fixed-foundation farms, are also an obstacle that needs attention. Turbines embedded into the ocean’s floor require specific conditions in order to ensure the success of the project. For instance, certain depths of installation cannot be exceeded and the foundations must be deemed suitable. Additionally, highly specialized equipment and installation processes are needed to effectively implement the technology underwater.7

Public backlash has also been a consistent obstacle faced when implementing offshore turbine technology. Increased lobbying against the wind farms from nearby residents makes achieving progress with these projects much more difficult. The “negative aesthetic” that the turbines place upon the horizon often seem to be the primary issue for such residents. However, other opponents cite the fact that the projects will not decrease energy costs. Such cost concerns are legitimate as discussed above, but are also only a primary concern in the short run as the technology is still new and requires refinement.12 13

Environmental concerns are an additional obstacle. The installation and maintenance of offshore turbines could pose a threat to the marine life currently living there. Dielectric fluid spillage, noise pollution during installation, effects upon fishing operations, and accidental collisions with birds are all environmental concerns related to the implementation of offshore turbines.²