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Hot Topic: New York and Virginia reaffirm their offshore wind support with promising developments

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#NewYork #NYSERDA #Virginia #DONG #Dominion #Offshore #Wind

wind power

The State of New York announced that, in order to meet its target of 2,4 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, it will construct three to six projects of 400 to 800 MW capacity each. However, according to the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), except the Deepwater Wind’s 90 MW South Fork project off the coast of Long Island, expected to be completed by 2022, the State does not plan for other projects to be online by the mid-2020s.

Currently, NYSERDA is carrying out studies and drafting its so-called “Master Plan”, which is expected will be published in its entirety by the end of 2017. An important part of the Plan is going to be the site identification study for the 43.000 square kilometres offshore wind study zone south of Long Island. Since the zone lies within federal waters, the development sectors will be tendered by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Meanwhile, New York plans to purchase power from offshore wind projects from nearby States like New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Furthermore, Danish offshore wind giant DONG Energy announced its “strategic partnership” with Virginia utility company Dominion. Part of their agreement involves the construction of a 12 MW pilot offshore wind project in Virginia. The project will consist of two 6 MW turbines. The Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Assessment Project (VOWTAP) has the potential to be the second operational US offshore wind farm after the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, which went into operation in December 2016.

The pilot project will be constructed 43 kilometres off the coast of Virginia, on a site leased by the Virginian authorities, encompassing more than 2.000 acres. According to DONG, engineering and development work for the project will start immediately and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, DONG plans on expanding its partnership with Dominion by developing the adjacent more than 100.000 acres offshore zone. The zone, which has potential to hold 2 GW of offshore wind capacity, has been solely owned by Dominion since 2013.

The timeline for the pilot project suggests that it would be the first to be completed by DONG in US waters. As stated by DONG’s CEO, Samuel Leupold, “the experience gained in constructing an offshore wind project in the US [will] serve as a stepping stone to a larger commercial-scale partnership between the [two] companies”. The Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, praised the partnership agreement and added that it “marks the first step in what [he] expect[s] to be the deployment of hundreds of wind turbines off Virginia’s coast that will further diversify [the] energy production portfolio, create thousands of jobs, and reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth”.

New York and Virginia are part of the US Climate Alliance, the coalition developed after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. The Alliance gathers together States committed to uphold the Paris Agreement goals by taking action on combating climate change despite the lack of federal support (see Hot Topic of 02 June 2017: ‘US President Trump withdraws from Paris Agreement: An opportunity for the rest of the world?’). The examples of New York and Virginia reaffirming and emboldening their support for RES projects show that there is a growing momentum for establishing a promising US offshore wind market.



DONG Energy