This blog looks at some of the developing US OW arrays that corporations are planning to construct in the 2020-2024 time frame. These will form the backbone of the industry and could be the ones which will set the benchmarks for schemes to come.
This is not a ranking from 1 to 10 but a look at what makes each project interesting. From permitting to finance to skills development to O & M there is a lot riding on these power projects. If one or two of them fail conspicuously to reach targets or meet some unexpected adversity, part of the US polity - who are looking for offshore wind power to come unstuck - will be jubilant. It will also empower climate change deniers and other anti-renewables forces. If they succeed, they will open a door into the massive US energy market for offshore renewables.
Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind
An array from Dominion Energy and Ørsted, this small pair of 2 x 6 MW Siemens Gamesa turbines will be 27 miles off Virginia Beach. This is a utility-owned pilot project to gain the skills and experience to build three arrays of around 880 MW each, or enough to power about 650,000 homes.
Construction has already started. The project is on track to install the two turbines this spring and first power take-off will be later in 2020.
What's exciting about this project: when the 12 MW array starts pushing out the juice it will be a significant milestone in the development of US OW. The knowledge gained will undoubtedly help the ambitious plan to construct more than 2.6 GW at the leasing site.
Bay State Wind
Bay State Wind is a proposed offshore wind project located 25 miles off the Massachusetts South Coast, and 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. The project is a 50-50 joint venture between Ørsted, the global leader in offshore wind, and Eversource, New England’s premier transmission builder.
It has an approved Construction and Operations Plan (COP) so the 800 MW project has passed a major point in its development.
What's exciting about this project: in response to feedback from fishermen and community members, Bay State Wind was the first developer to proactively revise its turbine layout pattern to accommodate historical fishing patterns and get the important local fishing community onside.
Empire Wind is planned 816 MW of power in New York State, an average of 20 miles south of Long Island. When complete, it will power more than a million New York homes. Developed by Equinor this will be a major East Coast array.
New York is upgrading its port facilities to ensure the success of ambitious OW projects.
What's exciting about this project: Empire Wind will be financed by private investors. Investments for a 1 GW project are typically about $ 3 billion.
This 1110 MW project off the shores of New Jersey is currently 100% developed and owned by Ørsted. Utilities provider PSEG of New Jersey is negotiating to buy a 25% equity stake.
Around GE 90 Haliade-X 12 MW will power this big wind farm, whose nearest major urban area is Atlantic City.
What's exciting about this project: this will be using the largest current OW turbine design – the massive Haliade-X (pictured above), which is 260m high and has a rotor diameter of 220 m; each one will generate enough electricity to power up to 16,000 homes.
Joint venture partners Eversource and Ørsted are planning to build this array off the coast of Massachusetts. The two companies are proposing a wind farm that would be built 65 miles off the coast of New London in federal waters. The proposals include several different options that could deliver up to 400 MW power.
It has now submitted its COP to BOEM.
What's exciting about this project: the scoping includes flexibility in options so that the array chosen will be tailored to the specific local circumstances prevailing.
Sunrise Wind is a proposed 880MW offshore wind farm to be developed in New York.
Under the auspices of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the project is a joint development of Danish power company Ørsted and US-based energy provider Eversource.
The COP is under review; assuming it passes scrutiny, then construction of the Sunrise project will be started in 2022 with operations scheduled to begin in May 2024, utilizing Siemens Gamesa turbines.
What's exciting about this project: another large-sized windfarm which could make New York's ambitious renewable energy plans a reality.
Vineyard Wind 1
This 800MW development off the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts is another strong project. Planned 9.5MW turbines will direct power to an offshore substation and the export cable will link to the grid in Cape Cod.
Its COP is undergoing review currently.
Onshore facilities construction is under way.
What's exciting about this project: the array will be located over 15 miles from the nearest shore in an area that allows for minimal environmental and human impact.
Mayflower Wind Energy, a joint venture of Shell and EDPR Offshore North America (EDPR), has been chosen by Massachusetts to supply 804 MW of clean, renewable energy from offshore wind to the electricity customers within the state, enough to power approximately half a million homes.
What's exciting about this project: Massachusetts is looking like it might be a hub for local content, including a wide variety of supply chain components.
Park City Wind
This is another Vineyard Wind project, this time in the Bridgeport region of Connecticut. It is an 804 megawatt offshore wind array, located 23 miles off the coast in an area of high wind speeds.
Construction is planned to begin in 2020.
What's exciting about this project: there is a lot of money going into partnering with local stakeholders to develop the supply chain here.
Revolution Wind is another 50/50 joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource. The capacity is 400 MW to Rhode Island and 300 MW to Connecticut. Expected to be commissioned in 2023, this array will be 15 miles south of Rhode Island.
The 700 MW project will power more than 400,000 homes in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
What's exciting about this project: the developers are committed to working with the fishing community to ensure that there are no safety issues or conflicts of interest with the wind farm.
The Future of US OW
The next few years look to be exciting ones for the offshore wind industry. Between now and 2023, if all goes well, there will be a significant number of large-scale turbine arrays off the East Coast of the USA, generating power, providing jobs and ensuring that the naysayers are confounded.
The US offshore wind market is probably the most rapidly-developing renewable energy sector in the world. Follow #USOW20 for the latest news and expert opinions.
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By Julian Jackson – writer on technology, arts, blockchain and cryptocurrencies.