News & Articles

America’s nascent offshore wind industry is getting a boost with news today that will make it easier to support the sector’s massive infrastructure needs. Ørsted, the world’s leading offshore wind developer, has inked a multimillion-dollar deal with a U.S. shipbuilder to construct the sector’s first ship that is compliant with a law controlling shipping goods in U.S. waters: The Jones Act. The Service Operations Vessel (SOV) will create 300 new jobs during its construction.

The project, 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, has officially started generating electricity. Ørsted, working with their partner Dominion Energy in addition to Siemens Gamesa, finished construction of the two-turbine CVOW (Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind) pilot project in late June. CVOW then underwent acceptance testing before being energized today. CVOW is now the first offshore wind farm operating in U.S. federal waters and so this project represents a massive step forward for the American offshore wind industry.

New Jersey opened the application window for the State’s second solicitation of offshore wind capacity. This second solicitation seeks to award between 1,200 and 2,400 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind energy, potentially tripling the State’s committed capacity from 1,100 MW to 3,500 MW. This represents a significant milestone toward achieving the State’s goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy in New Jersey by 2035, which will power 3.2 million homes with renewable energy.

Federal government agencies have released a really useful tool which gives interested parties ready access to online, graphical, information about any area of the US outer continental shelf. These graphics are available in six topic areas: general information, energy and minerals, natural resources and conservation, oceanographic and biophysical, transportation and infrastructure, and economics and commerce. This allows ready comparison of offshore wind and other users.

After a delay – due to COVID – New York issued a record solicitation for a total of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity of which 2,500 MW will be offshore wind. This amounts to the largest combined renewable energy solicitation ever in US history. Following on from a 2019 award of 1,700 MW of offshore wind to two developers (Ørsted and Equinor), this new solicitation will bring the Empire State halfway to its goal of having 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035.

Dominion Energy announced today the successful installation of the two turbine, 12-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project 27 miles off Virginia Beach. The first offshore wind farm to be approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and installed in federal waters, and the second constructed in the United States, was built safely and on schedule despite the worldwide impact from the coronavirus pandemic. The turbines will now undergo acceptance testing before being energized later this summer and producing enough clean, renewable energy, at peak output, to power 3,000 Virginia homes.

Only one week after Siemens Gamesa revealed plans for its new, largest-in-the-world, turbine of 14 megawatts (MW), Dominion Energy announced that it would use the turbine at its largest-in-the-US wind project offshore Virginia Beach, VA: the massive 2,640 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore commercial project.
Each turbine has the capability to produce up to 15 MW of power or enough, over a year, to power 65,700 average US homes.

In a first quarter conference call on 5 May, the company confirmed that it was part of a consortium formed to build the vessel which, it said, would work on behalf of leading offshore wind developers in the US market, (not just on its own projects) and will be capable of handling all existing and next-generation offshore wind turbines. Funding is to be finalized among consortium participants and the vessel is expected to enter service in 2023.

Credit to the Empire State for the being the first in the nation to pass legislation (‘The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act‘) which tackles the root problem facing renewables: a planning and permitting process which was built for large centralized power stations and not for distributed renewables. The legislation should materially assist NY in reaching its 70% renewables by 2030 target (up from 28% today).

The Virginia Clean Economy Act cleared its last hurdle in the General Assembly this week when both the House of Delegates and the Senate agreed to a final version that reflected the more aggressive House timeline of making Virginia’s electric grid carbon-free by 2045 while also incorporating stronger protections for electric utility ratepayers. It provides for a massive build-out of renewables including 16.1 GW of solar and 5.2 GW of offshore wind. The bill was described by advocates as the most progressive climate legislation ever to come out of the South.

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut and its partners Gateway Terminal, Ørsted, and Eversource have reached a final agreement on a harbor development plan for State Pier in New London that will transform the pier into a world-class offshore wind center and bring hundreds of well-paying jobs to the area.
The $157 million agreement will re-make State Pier as a modern, heavy-lift capable port and position it to meet the facility requirements of the offshore wind industry.

Mayflower Wind promised it would deliver to Massachusetts “the lowest cost offshore wind energy ever in the U.S.,” and appears to have lived up to that commitment.
Electricity generated by Mayflower Wind will cost 5.8 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) or $58 per megawatt hour (MWh) and the company estimates its project will provide the state with a total economic benefit of nearly $2.5 billion. The price of $58/MWh is significantly less than the $65/MWh agreed with the similarly located and sized Vineyard project in late 2017.

The Empire State plans to issue the solicitation in the middle of this year for as much as 2,500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind, which, combined with earlier solicitations from three separate projects would lead to more than 4,300 MW of procured offshore wind by the end of 2020. Although no specific date has been given, the solicitation is expected to be announced mid this year. Also of note in this article is that one of the reasons New York is moving so fast: the rapid drop in prices. Indeed; the 1,700 MW of projects, awarded in 2019, were at a cost which was a staggering 40% lower than New York had forecast in 2018.

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) selected Vineyard’s 804 MW offshore wind bid on Thursday, nearly six months after Gov. Ned Lamont, D, signed legislation requiring a state solicitation for up to 2,000 MW of offshore wind. The Park City Wind Project is the developer’s second offshore wind project in the U.S. and will be built in the same federal waters lease area as its 800 MW Massachusetts project. Their winning bid includes plans to redevelop an 18.3-acre waterfront industrial property, Barnum Landing, in Bridgeport, into an offshore wind hub.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday signed an executive order backing a goal of 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, more than doubling the state’s existing 3,500 megawatt target for 2030.
By the mid-2030s, offshore wind could provide New Jersey with half of its electricity, Murphy said in a speech alongside former Vice President Al Gore. NJ is currently heavily reliant on ‘natural’ gas and nuclear – which together generate more than 90% of the state’s electricity. The 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind will fundamentally change this, generating more than 35% of the state’s entire electricity needs.

Mayflower ( a consortium of Shell and EDPR) was selected as the winner of the state’s second offshore wind farm procurement with a proposal the company said offered the lowest price yet seen for offshore wind at less than the 8.4 cents a kilowatt hour – stunning at the time – offered by Vineyard Wind (Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid) last year for Massachusetts first offshore wind procurement. Of note: this points to a divergence between Massachusetts, which is focused on low price, and New York & New Jersey to the south which are both focused on building a supply chain.

Ørsted will deploy 102 of GE’s Haliade-X 12-MW wind turbines on two offshore wind farms constituting Ørsted’s Mid-Atlantic cluster: 1.1 GW for Ocean Wind off New Jersey and 120 MW for Skipjack off Maryland. This is the first US order for GE’s new 12 MW turbine and illustrates the massive potential, of offshore wind, for US manufacturing.
GE’s 12 MW is currently the world’s largest wind turbine but larger devices are under consideration by the major manufacturers. It would therefore appear, particularly when coupled with the economic advantages, that it is only a matter of time before the 12 MW is superseded: But for now – it reigns supreme!

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has released a request for proposals (RFP) for ‘up to’ 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind. This makes it the largest offshore wind procurement in the US to date. Submissions will be accepted until the end of September and DEEP expects to announce results in November. There is no minimum amount of offshore wind that DEEP must procure under this RFP, and selection decisions will depend on projects demonstrating they are in the best interest of the state’s ratepayers.

Governor Cuomo executed the largest offshore wind power procurement in U.S. history, signing contracts for 1,696 megawatts (MW) of capacity at two project sites. The Governor awarded 880 MW to Ørsted’s Sunrise Wind which will be 30 miles east of Montauk Point at the eastern end of Long Island. The State also awarded 816 MW to Equinor’s Empire Wind which will be 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island. Both projects are expected to be operational by 2024.

Denmark’s Ørsted won New Jersey’s first offshore wind solicitation with a 1,100 megawatt project known as Ocean Wind, the largest offshore wind project to secure a development deal with a U.S. state to date. The fact it will also be larger than the largest onshore project in the world today, speaks volumes about the potential for scale in offshore wind.

Governor Lamont

Today, Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) signed a bill authorizing the state to purchase up to 2,000 MW of offshore wind, or the equivalent of 30% of the state’s load, by the end of 2030. In doing so he said “Connecticut should be the central hub of the offshore wind industry in New England” and he wasn’t exaggerating: this legislation has the potential to make the Constitution State a major player in offshore wind.

Bidders are allowed to offer proposals from 200 MW up to approximately 800 MW. The higher number will be considered if the evaluation team determines that a larger-scaled proposal is both superior to other proposals and is likely to produce more economic benefits to ratepayers.

Proposals are due by 9 August with results to be announced 8 November.

Included here since this is a subject of particular relevance due to the lack of federal action on climate change and also because the issue of states’ rights has a long and turbulent history. In this highly significant ruling, the Supreme Court once again upheld the right of states to set power generation policies that address perceived environmental deficiencies. This is another setback for coal (and gas – albeit to a lesser extent) and also has significant positive implications for renewables.

Surprisingly (for some) at the world’s largest oil and gas conference – CERAWeek in Houston – the spotlight was on offshore wind. This Axios article attributes a large part of the reason to a changing ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) landscape for oil companies although we think a major driver may simply be shareholder pressure. Regardless of the cause – change is very much in the wind (pun intended).

New York today closed the bidding process on its 800 megawatt (or more if economically justified) bidding round for offshore wind. Four separate developers submitted bids – including Denmark’s Orsted (Sunrise Wind with Eversource) and CIP (Liberty Wind with Avangrid in addition to Anbaric on transmission). Vineyard announced that it submitted three proposals – the largest and cheapest of which would be 1,200 megawatts – the largest offshore project in the US to date. Results are due to be announced in April.

Governor Raimondo announced the price for the nation’s second commercial-scale offshore wind contract: an impressive $74 per megwatt hour for electricity from Orsted’s 400 megawatt ‘Revolution Wind’ project offshore Rhode Island. And critically, the deal is projected to save Rhode Island about $90 million in energy costs over the life of the contract, or about 50 cents per month for the typical electric customer in the state.

The Green New Deal will statutorily mandate New York’s power be 100 percent carbon-free by 2040, the most aggressive goal in the United States and five years ahead of a target recently adopted by California. The cornerstone of this new mandate is a significant increase of the state’s successful Clean Energy Standard mandate from 50 percent to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030. The most significant component of this globally unprecedented ramp-up of renewable energy includes an increase in the offshore wind target to 9,000 megawatts by 2035 from 2,400 megawatts currently.

Three developers backed by major European energy companies paid a record $405 million to gain access to 390,000 acres of federal waters nearly 20 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. These firms will each pay $135 million to the federal government for the rights to develop wind projects in their lease blocks. The winning companies are Vineyard Wind, Mayflower Wind (Shell & EDPR) and Equinor.

COWI, a leading international, engineering and environmental consulting firm, announced plans to hire an additional 80-100 people for its Boston office over the next three years. These hires are directly related to Vineyard Wind’s 800 MW offshore wind project located just off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

With the combined organization and asset portfolio, Ørsted will have an offshore wind portfolio of just under 9 GW and will be able to deliver clean energy to the seven states on the US East Coast that have already committed to build in total more than 10 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. The transaction is subject to clearance by the US competition authorities and is expected to close by end of 2018.