Based on a positive election in New Jersey, offshore wind bids in Massachusetts and the release of the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan, 2018 expectations for the U.S. offshore wind market were high. The first six weeks of 2018 indicate that the industry may have to raise its sights even higher.

In New York, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently outlined its Master Plan, including its goal of 2400 megawatts (MW) by 2030 and a total of 800MW in offshore solicitations for the years 2018 and 2019. The state is also investing $15M in workforce development and infrastructure advancement to ensure that the New York supply chain is ready to supply the components and skilled labor to build these wind farms when they are needed.

As expected, New Jersey’s newly-elected Governor, Phil Murphy, hit the ground running signing Executive Order Number 8 on January 31st, which directed the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to set a goal of 3500MW by 2030, and begin work on a solicitation for 1100MW of offshore wind. Murphy has set the larger goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050, and legislation was recently introduced calling for 100 percent clean energy by 2035.

Another state offshore leader, Massachusetts, stepped forward with Massachusetts Ocean Grid, a shared transmission system that would operate off the Massachusetts coast. The state, which is already processing bids for up to 800MW of offshore wind from three developers, also plans to work with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to auction off two more wind energy areas later this year.

Maryland, which was the first state to establish pricing for offshore wind energy using Offshore wind Renewable Energy Credits (OREC)s for 368MW last year, started the process of increasing its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by introducing the 100% Clean Renewable Energy Equity Act of 2018, which calls for 100 percent renewable energy in Maryland by 2035 and a 2.5GW carve out for offshore wind.

To support its supply chain development, the Maryland Energy Administration awarded three businesses more than $500,000 combined to participate in the state’s two offshore wind projects, Skipjack and U.S. Wind. U.S. Wind also committed to operating an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) facility in Ocean City, MD and a laydown and handling facility at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore.

And, some unexpected states declared that they would pursue offshore projects this year. Rhode Island, which was expected to stop at its small but important five-turbine project off of Block Island, stated that they were going for more. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo directed Rhode Island's utilities to issue a procurement for up to 400 MW of clean energy, including offshore and onshore wind, solar and hydro resources. Details of the RFP will be released at a later date.

Rhode Island’s western neighbor, Connecticut, took its first steps into the offshore marketplace. Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued an RFP seeking to solicit up to 825,000 MWh of offshore wind-generated power annually. Under the RFP the minimum nameplate capacity of the projects must be no less than 2MW, which may include paired and co-located energy storage.

The Business Network for Offshore Wind (the Network) actively follows this activity and held its first ‘State of the States’ webinar for members on January 26 covering offshore wind updates from government officials along the Atlantic Coast from South Carolina to Massachusetts, plus California. Learn about the most recent developments from the U.S. offshore wind developers and State regulators at the Network’s annual International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF) held in Princeton April 3-6th.

By Liz Burdock, Executive Director - Business Network for Offshore Wind

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