For the past several years, states up and down the East Coast have jockeyed for position as U.S. offshore wind leaders. This month, Connecticut and Virginia took turns dominating the headlines.
Connecticut makes waves
Earlier this summer, Connecticut passed legislation authorizing the purchase of up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind—enough to meet 30 percent of the state’s electricity demand.
“Connecticut should be the central hub of the offshore wind industry in New England,” Governor Lamont said. “This emerging industry has the potential to create hundreds of good paying jobs for the residents of our state and drive economic growth in towns along our shoreline. And by delivering zero carbon renewable energy, we can increase our region’s fuel security while also making significant progress toward meeting our climate goals. By adopting this new law, we are sending a clear message – Connecticut is serious about becoming a major player in the clean energy economy.”
Yesterday the responses to Connecticut solicitation rolled in, with three joint ventures submitting project ideas. Vineyard Wind (Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners), Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy, and Mayflower Wind (Shell New Energies and EDP Renewables) all answered Connecticut’s call:
- “Our Park City Wind proposal is much more than an energy project — it’s an opportunity for Connecticut to develop a world-class offshore wind industry in Bridgeport and solidify its role as a high-value industry hub in the U.S. for years to come,” — Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen
- “Since 2015, our team has been focused on bringing affordable, renewable energy to Connecticut, a major opportunity for the state’s clean energy future and economy,” — President of Ørsted North America and CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind Thomas Brostrøm
- “Governor Lamont has outlined a vision for moving Connecticut toward a clean energy future, and we believe our proposal can play a role in advancing that vision in an affordable manner,” — John Hartnett, President of Mayflower Wind
Connecticut could choose a winner as soon as November.
Virginia looks to build America’s largest offshore wind project
In early September, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order calling for 30 percent of his state’s electricity to come from renewables by 2030. Dominion Energy answered the call in a big way, proposing a 2,600 MW project near Virginia Beach. The utility is partnering with Ørsted to help build the project.
The wind farm “shows how serious we are about bringing commercial-scale offshore wind to Virginia, giving our customers what they have asked for – more renewable energy,” said Dominion vice president Mark D. Mitchell.
“Governor Northam is proud to see Dominion taking significant steps to harness the power of offshore wind,” spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said. “Virginia has a unique opportunity to become a national leader in offshore wind technology, management and deployment — the governor is committed to working with Dominion and other partners to realize this goal.”
Offshore wind turbine technology continues to progress
Rounding out the triumvirate of big offshore wind news, GE received the first orders for its 12 MW Haliade-X turbine, the world’s most powerful wind turbine. Ørsted plans to use the turbines at projects it’s developing in New Jersey and Maryland. A single Haliade-X can power 16,000 homes and should have a capacity factor exceeding 60 percent, higher than typical U.S. coal and natural gas plants.