The area’s wind power leader, New York, ranks eighth among US states, with 1.27GW installed. It has the most onshore resources at almost 75TWh per year potential energy, ranking 21st in the nation. Maine is the only other state in this region with more than 10TWh of annual potential.
Pennsylvania took its capacity over a gigawatt last year with the addition of five wind farms totaling 387.5MW. Other states in the region have far less. For pipelines, the picture is different. New York still reigns supreme with well over 2GW planned, but New Jersey and Massachusetts also have healthy pipelines thanks to offshore proposals, while Rhode Island is also looking to capitalise on offshore prospects. But these projects are far from certain, and the permitting road is long. The most advanced, Cape Wind, took nine years to win federal permission. The remaining states have less than 500MW each in the pipeline.
New England has among the highest energy prices in the country. Ten New England and mid-Atlantic states have created the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the first mandatory cap-and-trade initiative in the US.
Almost every state in the region has a renewable energy standard (RES) to encourage green energy. The exceptions are Vermont, which has a voluntary goal, and West Virginia, whose "alternative energy standard" can be met with non-renewable sources including coal and natural gas.
Offshore pioneer grabs attention
Wind power in the northeast has made national headlines thanks to Cape Wind, in Massachusetts, which is the first offshore project to win federal approval. At 468MW, it is also the largest project in the region, on- or offshore, likely to come online in the next five years. Another major scheme in the offing is Bluewater, a 450MW offshore Delaware project which has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Delmarva Power & Light. Developer NRG Bluewater has a federal lease to erect a meteorological tower at its Delaware site and off the coast of New Jersey, where it plans another 350MW.
Other offshore projects include Deepwater Wind and PSEG’s 350MW Garden State Offshore Energy project off New Jersey. Deepwater is also planning two projects off Rhode Island: the 380MW Rhode Island Sound Wind Farm and the 29MW Block Island Wind Farm, whose PPA was rejected by the state’s utility commission before being resubmitted. A decision was due after this publication went to press.
The largest onshore proposal is Upstate New York Power Corporation’s 252MW Hounsfield Wind Farm on Galloo Island in Jefferson County. The state has two large offshore projects planned, notably the 700MW Hamptons wind farm.
Region home to major manufacturers
The region’s most important manufacturer is Gamesa, the Spanish turbine company, which has a nacelle plant near Philadelphia and a blade factory in Cambria County. Pennsylvania is also home to the Harrisburg factory of Tyco Electronics, a $10.3 billion company working across a variety of industries, including wind, and General Electric’s Erie plant, which makes electrical components. Northern Power Systems, maker of the Northwind 2.2MW turbine, manufactures in Vermont. New Jersey hosts the US headquarters of French manufacturer Mersen (formerly Carbon Lorraine), which supplies electronic parts including signal transfer systems and coolers.
Pennsylvania and New York host a number of small firms and machine shops, supplying marginal products such as lifts and cooling systems. Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts also have some component manufacturers.
Expertise brought to bear offshore
Eastern universities are bursting with wind energy expertise. The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center leads the DeepCWind consortium, which is soliciting design concepts for a floating deepwater wind platform. It is also building an offshore wind laboratory for designing and testing deepwater components. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Wind Energy Center was established in 1972, and investigates such areas as external conditions and remote sensing, and blade materials and structural design. The Massachusetts-NREL Wind Technology Testing Center, a partnership between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and state agency the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, is building a blade-testing centre in Boston.
The University of New Hampshire’s Center for Ocean Renewable Energy has received $700,000 of federal stimulus money to test offshore wind. The University of Delaware has a contract with NREL to work with federal and state agencies to investigate offshore issues, including regulation, resource assessment and public opinion.
Stimulus funds upgrade port facilities
Searsport, Maine, ranks tenth among US ports for the amount of wind energy components it imports. The Maine Port Authority was given $7 million in federal stimulus money, from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) programme, to improve the port’s heavy lift capacity with a mobile harbour crane and related infrastructure. It will also increase the storage area.
The port authority has received another $7 million in TIGER grants for improvements at its other two deepwater ports, Eastport and Portland. Similarly, the Quonset Development Corporation in Rhode Island has received $22.3 million in TIGER cash for pier, rail and road improvements at its port and nearby business park. Deepwater Wind plans to use Quonset as a staging area, and the port is vying to offer the same service to Cape Wind.
The Port of Albany in New York has received about 1,600 blades. Its seven sheds and warehouses total 350,000 square foot. Wilmington, Delaware offers cranes with a maximum lift capacity of 75 tons and has received shipments of GE blades. In terms of tonnage imported across all industries, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is the largest in the region and second largest in the nation, covering the Port of Newark and marine terminals at Port Jersey, Brooklyn, Elizabeth and Howland Hook.