New low costs for offshore wind power tasks in Europe have excited policymakers up and down the East Coast about prospects within the U.S. and emboldened some to lastly pull the set off on long-mooted plans. Policy commitments in Massachusetts and New York, particularly, are offering new hope for a lot bigger offshore developments.

After years of delays, controversy, and wishful considering, offshore wind is lastly coming to America. New analysis from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory means that whereas New York and New England tasks might pencil out, prospects dim in additional southerly areas.

Offshore Wind Is Starting to Grow

European builders are the worldwide leaders on offshore wind, and are bringing their experience throughout the Atlantic, usually working with American companions. The newest breakthrough on worth is the gargantuan 1,386-MW Hornsea Project Two, off the coast of Yorkshire within the North Sea. Ørsted, previously referred to as DONG Energy, was the successful bidder within the public sale, with a reported worth of $77.76/MWh. It would be the world’s largest wind farm when it comes on-line in about 4 years.

In earlier tenders in Germany and the Netherlands, builders have requested no subsidies, keen to take the market worth plus the worth of carbon credit. Those bids didn’t embrace grid connection prices, that are coated by native grid operators.

America’s first challenge, 5 6-MW GE generators close to Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island (a 2017 POWER Top Plant, see “Nation’s First Offshore Wind Farm Releases Community from Decades of Diesel” within the December 2017 problem), began operation in December 2016. But Block Island (Figure 1) was a singular case, with retail electrical charges as excessive as 54¢/kWh on account of heavy reliance on diesel turbines. The wind challenge additionally concerned connecting the island to the mainland grid for the primary time, permitting entry to cheaper energy for the island, and sending wind energy ashore within the winter when the island inhabitants falls.

1. One-of-a-kind (for now). The five-turbine Block Island wind farm was the primary U.S. offshore wind challenge to be grid related. When the subsequent challenge will come on-line stays unsure. Courtesy: Deepwater Wind

Progress, Finally, in Massachusetts

Offshore wind within the U.S. suffers beneath the legacy of Cape Wind, a 454-MW challenge first proposed for Nantucket Sound in 2001. Unrelenting and well-funded opposition from rich beachfront owners on Cape Cod, together with arch-conservative funder William Koch and liberal icons Teddy Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., succeeded in delaying the challenge for years.

While these 26 lawsuits have been costly, none succeeded, they usually weren’t deadly to the challenge. What finally killed Cape Wind was its excessive worth. Despite the help of Gov. Deval Patrick and vigorous arm-twisting by state regulators, Cape Wind’s contract worth averaged $220/MWh over 10 years, leading to staunch opposition from the utilities that will be compelled to purchase it. When Patrick left workplace in 2015, and a deadline to begin building handed, NStar and National Grid wasted no time in canceling the contract.

The Cape Wind debacle led to new laws from Beacon Hill. With onshore wind laborious to develop in crowded New England and biomass energy falling out of regulatory favor on account of perceived life-cycle carbon emissions, solely photo voltaic and offshore wind have been left to satisfy aggressive renewable power targets. Clearly the state wanted offshore wind, however Cape Wind was no mannequin for growth.

The laws, handed in 2016, units a agency goal and timetable for offshore wind procurement, with 1,600 MW due by June 30, 2027. It additionally offers utilities extra consolation by letting them acquire as much as 2.75% of the annual funds beneath the contract to compensate for accepting the monetary obligation of the long-term contract. And it explicitly takes Cape…

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