Third quarter sees approvals for US offshore build-out gather pace

Offshore wind projects permitted for construction tripled in the third quarter of 2023, to 2.7GW, with more approvals expected to come in the fourth quarter, according to a US trade body.

US president Joe Biden visited the visited the Philly Shipyard in July (Image credit: Spencer Platt via Getty Images)

The Business Network for Offshore Wind (BNOW) said approvals were up almost 200% on the previous quarter in its third quarter, 2023 report.

State goals and targets are currently 86.9GW, up 4% compared with the previous quarter, said the report.

But the summer period from July to September has not been entirely positive for US offshore wind. 

BNOW noted that three offshore wind projects totalling 3.2GW in Massachusetts and Connecticut have officially announced contract terminations because of rising costs and completion of these projects will now be delayed until the late 2020s. 

That leaves 14.4GW of offshore projects under contract as of the end of the third quarter, which is 18% down on the previous quarter. 

Each of the projects will attempt to secure a new contract in upcoming state procurement rounds, the report noted. 

Increased state coordination 

On a positive note, BNOW said east coast states increased their coordination, which was highlighted by new procurement rounds in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In early October, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate a selection of offshore wind projects.

Shipbuilding and secondary steel manufacturing delivered strong performances among offshore wind supply chain subsectors, said BNOW. They are the strongest sectors in the US offshore-wind supply chain.

President Joe Biden visited the Philly Shipyard in Philadelphia in July for a steel-cutting ceremony for the Acadia, the first US-built subsea rock installation vessel for offshore wind. 

New York is expected to award new offshore wind power agreements in the fourth quarter, and with that could come new investments in turbine blade and nacelle facilities, said BNOW. 

The US government is expected to hold seabed auctions in Oregon, Maine and the central Atlantic in 2024, said the report.