United States

United States

More states set to call offshore wind tenders

UNITED STATES: Now that the first project is operational, several north-eastern states are getting serious about offshore wind.

Sole provider… Rhode Island is only state with offshore wind (pic: ionna22)
Sole provider… Rhode Island is only state with offshore wind (pic: ionna22)

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order calling for 3.5GW of wind in state waters by 2030 in one of several boosts for the US offshore sector.

The state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) will launch a tender for 1.1GW, the governor’s office announced. However, a date has not yet been set, and the board is yet to create a process to approve developers’ initial plans, the office admitted. The remaining 2.4GW of wind capacity is also unaccounted for.

Murphy’s order updates the north-eastern state’s Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, which encouraged the creation of a certification programme for the sector.

But since its passage in 2010, little progress has been made on offshore wind in New Jersey, the governor said.

Under the new executive order, the New Jersey BPU will engage with neighbouring states — including New York, which recently published a roadmap for 2.4GW of offshore wind — to explore the potential benefits of regional collaboration.

In a 60-page report released at the end of January, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority identified two potential sites, located 33km off the coast, each capable of supporting at least 800MW.

The authority’s latest document adds to earlier calls by the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, for two requests for proposals (RFPs) to be issued in 2018 and 2019 to procure at least 800MW of offshore wind.

However, details are in short supply — from dates for the RFPs, to how the 800MW will be divided between the two tenders.

A decision on procurement options will be made in the coming year, said the authority, which has also asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to identify and lease four new wind-energy areas from within the two sites, which combined, encompass nearly 4,300km2.

Six potential development areas already exist, which will also be available to neighbouring states, including New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Wind in the renewables mix

Connecticut issued an RFP in February for nearly 900GWh/year of new production that includes fuel cell, fuel cell with combined heat power, and anaerobic digestion projects, as well as wind power off the New England coast.

The 825GWh/year limit for offshore wind indicates a site or sites with a total capacity of about 200MW.

Rhode Island’s governor, Gina Raimondo, meanwhile, announced plans in February to issue a tender for up to 400MW of renewable energy by this summer.

The state’s Office of Energy Resources will work with state utilities to design an RFP — the details of which will be released at a later date, the governor’s office said.

The procurement plans build on the Raimondo administration’s goal of including 1GW of clean energy in the state’s energy portfolio.

Rhode Island currently has about 100MW of renewable energy, the governor’s office added. This includes the US’s only offshore wind project, the 30MW Block Island site.

Neighbouring Massachusetts, which has been at the forefront of efforts to launch the US’s offshore wind industry, opened an auction for 800MW of wind capacity in December, which will conclude next year.

The state passed a bill in 2016 requiring local utilities to buy power from 1.6GW of offshore wind by July 2027.

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