2018 really has been a year of U.S. offshore wind superlatives.
First – admittedly in 2017 and just before Christmas – New York asked BOEM to consider leasing additional offshore blocks, in the New York Bight, which could host as much as 3,200 megawatts (MW) of Offshore Wind (OSW).
Then New York’s Offshore Wind Masterplan called for an additional 800 MW of OSW in two separate calls one this year and one next. Governor Murphy was sworn-in to office in New Jersey and promptly made good on his election promise of an OSW target of 3,500 MW by 2030 – which was, and still is, the largest in the nation. As part of that process he called on the NJ Board of Public Utilities to move ahead with a call for 1,100 megawatts of OSW – a process now moving ahead rapidly and we hope to see something before the end of this year. The Interior Secretary’s Energy Policy Advisor, Vincent DeVito visited Denmark specifically to learn about offshore wind. Something which came as a pleasant surprise for many who were expecting a somewhat less welcoming view on OSW from this Administration. Indeed, Secretary Zinke has proven to be quite the advocate with two articles in the national media, in just the last couple of months, which have extolled the virtues of this dynamic new industry.
And just to show that OSW is not exclusively an East Coast initiative, EnBW partnered with Trident Wind for a floating project off the California coast and Copenhagen Offshore Partners did the same with the US company Magellan.
But really it all came to a head in a three week period starting on the 23 May when an 800 MW RFP by the State of Massachusetts was won by Vineyard Wind. On the back of that an additional 400 MW was awarded by Rhode Island to Deepwater Wind and, three weeks later, another 200 MW was awarded, this time by Connecticut, and also to Deepwater Wind.
1,400 MW of new offshore capacity in the space of three weeks – this is an amount which would have been scarcely believable only a year ago and it illustrates how fast things are moving.
Impressive as it is, the 1,400 MW promises to be eclipsed within the year by 1,100 MW from New Jersey and 800 MW from New York (the latter in 2018 and 2019).