Powering Up Offshore Wind in the U.S.


By Steven Cuevas, Director of Business Development – Offshore Wind
AREVA Renewables Inc.

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Have you taken the pulse of U.S. offshore wind power lately? In the midst of striving for the goal of a robust U.S. offshore wind industry, it’s good to check your progress (like last year).

Within the last few days and months, we’ve seen significant progress on multiple fronts in multiple states on the East Coast.

Progress is good, especially since—as the manufacturer of a 5MW offshore wind turbine —AREVA’s commitment to establish a U.S. supply chain parallels the evolving multi-gigawatt U.S. offshore wind industry. We’ve done it already in Germany’s North Sea, with over 800MW in the pipeline.

Here’s a quick list of recent U.S. offshore wind activity:

Massachusetts: The 130-turbine, 468-megawatt Cape Wind offshore farm progressed from permitting to pre-construction phase.

Rhode Island: Offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind is pursuing a 200-turbine, 1,000-megawatt project 20 miles off the coast.

New York: Monday’s article in the Long Island Press describes the community’s call for offshore wind,

“Massive oil spills, rising gasoline prices, and poor air quality can all be attributed to our addiction to harmful polluting fossil fuels. The time to act is NOW. Clean, stable, renewable wind energy is a much needed part of Long Island’s next energy mix. LIPA needs to advance large-scale wind to help us meet our clean energy goals,” stated Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment.”

New Jersey: Offshore wind developer Fishermen’s Energy received the final state permits to build its six-turbine Atlantic City wind park demonstration project.

Delaware: Offshore wind developer NRG Bluewater Wind began negotiating a lease with the federal government for a 49-turbine project.

Maryland: Governor O-Malley advanced offshore wind with consideration of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, which would guarantee revenue for a 500-megawatt offshore wind farm. Though paused at the moment, hopes are to pass it in the next session.

Virginia: Utility Dominion Power announced a study evaluating an offshore wind transmission line.

North Carolina: The just introduced Offshore Wind Jobs and Economic Development Act would make long-term contracts with state utilities to purchase 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind expected to come online in the next 10 years.

Also, the Atlantic Wind Connection’s proposed 300-mile offshore East Coast backbone transmission line advanced a few weeks ago by filing,

“the first-ever unsolicited right-of-way application with the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for the use of certain areas of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to construct an offshore transmission system.”

The Federal Government sparked some of this activity with the announcement earlier this year of four offshore wind energy areas uses “appropriate designated areas, coordinated environmental studies, large-scale planning and expedited approval processes to speed offshore wind energy development.”

Now that’s progress—albeit down a long road—but progress, none the less.

The big question now is not if, but when: When will these states launch their projects? Which states will achieve first-mover benefits, and which ones will fall behind? After Massachusetts, what’s your guess on the lineup?

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