August 31, 2016
By Todd Olinsky-Paul, CESA Project Director
July 1, 2016
Strong winds, advanced offshore wind technology, and a large market all come together in New York where the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently designated 81,130 acres as a commercial wind energy area (WEA). BOEM discussed the auction process for lease rights to the WEA and reviewed the timeline and milestones for bringing the WEA to auction at an auction seminar and public hearing on Wednesday. Seven developers have already qualified for the auction, which requires a bid down payment of $450,000. In addition, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has indicated that it will bid in the lease auction as well. If successful, NYSERDA plans to carry out site studies and environmental assessments before leasing the site to a developer.
Before the WEA goes up for auction, BOEM is soliciting public comments on the site’s draft environmental assessment and the proposed sale notice. Comments are due by July 6th for the environmental assessment and August 5th for the proposed sale notice. Once the environmental assessment is revised and released, BOEM will publish a final sale notice with a commercial lease sale date; the New York WEA sale is expected to take place in December. Once the lease is executed, there will be several more opportunities to provide public input such as on the site assessment plan and on the draft environmental impact statement of the developer’s construction and operations plan.
At Wednesday night’s public hearing in New York City, a turnout of about 40 people expressed their overwhelming support for offshore wind in New York. Numerous attendees spoke not only in support of offshore wind, but also in support of local jobs, fast-action on climate change, and long-term commitments to grow the industry. A diverse group of citizen activists called on Governor Cuomo, the state Public Service Commission, and NYSERDA to adopt an offshore wind tier in the state’s new Clean Energy Standard and urged that the state’s Renewable Energy Vision contain a specific target for offshore wind. Many reiterated the view that BOEM’s five-year timeframe for a developer to submit a construction and operation plan (COP) was too lengthy, stating that we cannot afford to wait to act on climate change. BOEM Director Abby Hopper clarified that developers can submit a COP at any point in the five-year time period, and that the length of the entire BOEM timeframe was developed to maximize efficiency while reducing opportunities for litigation.
Representatives of New York City and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability were also present at Wednesday’s meetings. The Mayor’s staff noted that the Mayor was interested in connecting the offshore wind into NY ISO Zone J (NYC); offshore wind power would help the city meet its OneNYC goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 and from City government operations 35% by 2025. Power may also connect into Zone K (Long Island).
To comment on BOEM’s draft environmental assessment or the proposed sale notice, visit BOEM’s New York activity page: http://www.boem.gov/New-York/
This blog post was also published in Renewable Energy World.
June 23, 2016
September 28, 2015
The US Department of Energy’s State Energy Program has awarded $592,683 in competitive funds to New York State Energy and Research Authority (NYSERDA), state organizations in three other Northeast states (the Maine Governor’s Office, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources), and the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) to advance offshore wind market development through multi-state cooperation.
The states will develop a regional roadmap detailing actions states can take individually and collaboratively to support offshore wind development at scale. Offshore wind (OSW) can help meet state GHG emission goals and renewable energy targets, while providing multiple other benefits such as grid reliability, peak demand generation, and reduced transmission costs.
NYSERDA is responsible for overall project administration, and the four states will have an equal role and stake in the project and its outcome. The award comes shortly after tides began turning for OSW in the US with the nation’s first offshore wind demonstration project (Deepwater Wind’s 30 MW project) installing US-made foundations off the coast of Rhode Island in July. The announcement also follows this summer’s release of New York’s State Energy Plan as well as New York City’s request for information on options for new renewable energy generation capacity. The state’s offshore wind resources could be used to meet the City’s goal for 100% renewable energy for government operations. Likewise, legislation has been proposed in Massachusetts requiring utilities to conduct periodic joint solicitations for OSW projects at scale. And at the federal level, Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act, which, if passed, would provide an investment tax credit for the first 3000 MW of OSW.
Despite the tremendous potential of offshore wind, its high cost is a major barrier to development. Although no offshore wind farms have yet been completed in U.S. waters, the European experience has demonstrated that a market of sufficient scale and duration can reduce costs. Europe has installed over 8 GW and costs have decreased dramatically. A recent report by BVG Associates predicts that offshore wind projects in the UK will be cost competitive with new natural gas plants by 2020.
Although the individual states are already taking important steps to advance offshore wind, and will continue to do so, cooperation among them has the potential to speed progress and reduce costs. Through this DOE award for state energy planning through regional collaboration, the four Northeast states and CESA will examine how to bring OSW to scale in the Northeast, quantify cost improvements associated with a pipeline of projects, and identify opportunities for regional collaboration. The final project deliverable will be a regional roadmap detailing the near- and long-term regional market and the individual state actions and collaborative approaches needed to improve the OSW project pipeline beyond “one-off” projects.
The offshore wind project is one of 12 projects selected for funding through the DOE State Energy Program. Read more about the DOE's State Energy Program 2015 Competitive Award Selections here.
August 20, 2015
By Val Stori, Project Director, CESA
March 31, 2014
On a frigid winter night, about seventy citizens gathered at Narragansett Town Hall to weigh in on Deepwater Wind’s proposal to build wind turbines off the coast of Block Island. The state Department of Environmental Management was seeking comment on Deepwater’s request for a modification to its state dredge permit and for a water quality certificate. But most came to speak globally about the project. And their views ping-ponged wildly between two extremes: an Alaskan-sized folly or an environmental and economic boon of similarly monumental proportions.
The truth will take some time in coming. The DEM permit is only one of several the project needs. Next up will be approvals from the Coastal Resources Management Council, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Department of Interior to address the environmental impact. Nonetheless, Deepwater hopes to complete the permitting process this year.
The thirty-megawatt five-turbine demonstration project, located about three miles southeast of Block Island, will generate more than 125,000 megawatt hours annually. Wind power will be transmitted from the turbines to the grid along a twenty-one-mile transmission cable, buried under the ocean floor, making landfall north of Scarborough Beach’s recreation area on Ocean Road in Narragansett. The system will connect New Shoreham, for the first time, to the grid and allow it to quit the diesel generators, which power the island. But the per-kilowatt-hour price will be high: 24.4 cents, compared to the market average of about 14.5 cents. Power generated by the wind farm will rise by 3.5 percent for each of the twenty years of the agreement.
Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski says that the price escalates, in part, to provide stability in pricing over time and incentives for the company to keep its turbines in good working order over their lifetimes.
“It’s apples and oranges to compare fossil-fuel energy prices from a more mature industry with more mature technologies to the cost of a clean-energy source that has to lock in its prices for twenty years,” he says. “The Block Island project is at the very leading edge of this industry.”
The opposition is prepared to assert that wind farms are visual blights and environmental disturbances. But Deepwater’s adversaries believe that the high cost of this particular type of green energy is their strongest argument. A stack of handouts by the door to the Narragansett Town Council chambers raised the alarm. They proclaimed: “Wind Power Invasion Coming Soon,” and warned of a “predatory development,” and “a risky venture,” doomed to fail, while guaranteeing “huge profits” to Deepwater Wind.
“Deepwater is going to charge so much for the electricity — $600 million over twenty years. That is outrageous, far beyond what any other wind farm is going to charge. The price of wind power can be as little as 9 cents per kilowatt-hour,” says Robert Shields, co-chair of Deepwater Resistance, a new political action committee with thirty active members.
The resisters celebrated a victory in August, when they persuaded the Narragansett Town Council to reject Deepwater’s proposal for transmission lines coming ashore near the town beach. But it was short-lived. Deepwater switched the landing site to state property. In December, the State Properties Committee approved the easements for construction of the switchyard, and the new landing site.
“The key thing is to have the political process reenergized, to change the law and prevent Deepwater Wind from building the wind farm,” says Shields.
Deepwater Resistance might have a model in the saga of Cape Wind, a proposal to build 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound. The multimillion-dollar battle, now in its thirteenth year, has pitted entrepreneur Jim Gordon against deep-pocketed billionaire fossil fuels magnate William I. Koch, who also happens to own shoreline property with a view of the proposed wind farm, and politically formidable adversaries like the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
The opposition here has called a few politicos to its cause: State Senator Dawson Hodgson and former Attorneys General Jim O’Neill, Arlene Violet and Patrick Lynch. In 2010, the latter, along with two private businesses and the Conservation Law Foundation, challenged the power purchase agreement, what Lynch called an “insider deal,” before the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
But unlike Cape Wind, an entirely private venture, Deepwater Wind has largely had the backing of the state. In 2008, a committee chose Deepwater over six other bidders as the preferred developer. In 2010, after the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) turned down the power-purchase agreement between Deepwater and National Grid as commercially unreasonable, the General Assembly passed legislation redefining “commercially reasonable,” and allowed the parties a chance to re-file the agreement. The PUC approved it, and in 2011, incoming Attorney General Peter Kilmartin dropped the state from the appeal. The Rhode Island Supreme Court later upheld the legality of the purchase power agreement.
“The contract has been approved, and the project is moving forward,” says Marion Gold of the state’s Office of Energy Resources. “We hope it will pave the way for future offshore wind that will be lower cost.”
The project also has powerful allies in the environmental community and labor groups, who argue that focusing on the per-kilowatt-hour cost is too narrow a lens. For one, the demonstration project will only provide 1 percent of the state’s total energy needs, bumping the typical residential user’s monthly bill in the first year by about $1.37. It will substantially lower electric bills on Block Island, where customers pay more than 50 cents per kilowatt-hour — the highest in the state.
Second, the wind farm is expected to boost the state’s economy. Levitan and Associates, a consultant hired by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, estimated that the state would reap $100 million in economic activity and 200 jobs.
As part of its agreement with the state, Deepwater plans to locate its manufacturing and construction operations at Quonset Point. Already, the proposal has prompted the Hawaii-based Navatek to open a regional office in Peace Dale. The renewable energy technology firm will collaborate with the University of Rhode Island in researching plasma actuators, which improve the energy output and lifespan of wind turbines.
In July, Deepwater won the federal government’s first auction to lease two offshore wind farms. This next project — a utility-scale wind farm providing energy regionally with up to 200 turbines located seventeen miles south of Rhode Island — could generate nearly $1 billion in direct and indirect economic activity, Levitan forecasted.
Elias Hinckley, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who specializes in clean energy financing, says that whoever builds the first wind farm has the potential to become the nation’s wind power manufacturing and shipping hub — “a multi-billion-dollar economic growth engine for decades.” But, he notes, it requires substantial upfront risk and cost.
The opponents’ gamble is the proponents’ investment.
Jerry Elmer of the Conservation Law Foundation says, “It’s worth the additional money.” The foundation supports the project, even though it challenged the power purchase agreement on procedural grounds. “Deepwater has been not merely a good partner, it’s been an excellent partner on environmental issues.”
“There are so many hidden costs from our dependence on fossil fuels, like air pollution and global warming,” says Channing Jones of Environment Rhode Island.
Advocates like Lew Milford, president of the Vermont-based Clean Energy Group, acknowledge that “offshore wind is still too expensive.” In Europe, where offshore wind first appeared in 1991 and generates about 6,040 megawatts, “it’s looked at as a serious source of clean energy and it’s beginning to get some serious scale to it,” he says. “If there is one lesson, it’s this: It’s not a short-term kind of opportunity. It’s a long-term strategy, and you have to put a lot of pieces into place to get there.”
As Rhode Islanders total up all the pieces in determining the worth or worthlessness of an offshore wind farm, we’ll have to think about regional energy policies, the environmental impacts of fossil fuel versus turbines, the effect on the state economy and diversifying our green energy portfolio. The price of a kilowatt-hour may be the least of it.
March 18, 2014
ANNAPOLIS (March 18, 2014)— Today the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced the launch of an innovative program aimed at supporting state-of-the-art and pioneering business development in the state of Maryland. The Market Entry Assistance Grant Program is the first initiative to originate from the Offshore Wind Business Development Fund, and is designed to help Maryland businesses become integral participants in the global offshore wind market. MEA intends to issue grants to support immediate roll out of emerging businesses’ products and services throughout the state, and facilitate development of specific business opportunities within the offshore wind sector. This grant program will spur industrial innovation and growth of Maryland businesses, including minority businesses, seeking their first entry into the offshore wind market.
March 12, 2014
Clean Energy Group and Sustainable Energy Advantage to Operate U.S. Department of Energy’s Northeast Wind Resource Center
Clean Energy Group (CEG) and Sustainable Energy Advantage (SEA), LLC, are pleased to announce that they have been selected to develop and operate the Northeast Wind Resource Center, one of six regional wind energy resource centers to be established across the US by the U.S. Department of Energy. These resource centers will be tasked with providing accurate and unbiased education and outreach to stakeholders and decision makers about wind energy deployment in their respective regions.
January 28, 2014
Trips to the Netherlands and a very long boat trip off the coast of Ocean City are among the steps Maryland officials have taken to prepare for offshore wind.
December 6, 2013
The Maryland Energy Administration led a delegation of business and government leaders to Europe to develop the state’s offshore wind supply chain, resulting in a formal cooperation agreement with the Government of Denmark
President Barack Obama recently used his weekly radio address to talk about opportunities to strengthen our national economy while reducing our carbon footprint. Clean energy is about more than reducing our environmental impact. It means jobs, economic revitalization and innovating for our future.
September 30, 2013
Lew Milford, CEG President, is back from a recent offshore wind conference in London and has some thoughts on the European experience and lessons for the U.S. See the blog post at http://www.cleanegroup.org/blog/offshore-wind-in-europe-lessons-for-the-u-s/ or on the Huffington Post Green blog at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lewis-milford/offshore-wind-in-europe_b_4018542.html
June 4, 2013
BOEM to Auction Nearly 165,000 Acres Offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts for Wind Energy Development in July
May 6, 2013
MA Officials Break Ground On New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal to Support Offshore Wind Turbine Deployment
NEW BEDFORD – Monday, May 6, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined federal, state and local officials to break ground on the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, the first terminal in the United States built to support offshore wind turbine deployment.
February 28, 2013
New Analysis from CESA’s Offshore Wind Accelerator Project Makes Strong Case for Offshore Wind, Predicting Minimal Effect on Ratepayers
New Report Confirms Viability of U.S. Offshore Wind Industry
February 13, 2013
The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 passed a key hurdle on Friday, being approved 14-7 for a full vote in the state House. It is expected to pass there before moving to the Senate for consideration.
February 4, 2013
$2 million in offshore wind energy research will provide critical scientific information regarding Maryland’s offshore wind area.
January 25, 2013
Governor O'Malley introduced the Maryland Offshore Wind Act of 2013 on Tuesday, January 22 shortly after convening the 443rd General Assembly.
The bill will have its first hearing in the House of Delegates (HB 226) on Tues., Feb. 5, in the House Economic Matters Committee. Identical in all substantive respects to the bill that overwhelmingly passed the House of Delegates last year, this measure will operate within Maryland’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard to create a framework that will support a major offshore wind project.
November 27, 2012
Today Clean Energy States Alliance submitted a non-partisan letter to key Congressional committee leaders in support of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC), federal policies that are crucial for sustained clean energy development. CESA's Board of Directors approved the letter in October.
October 19, 2012
Offshore Wind Accelerator Project (OWAP) Partners with Center for American Progress and The Center for the Next Generation to Promote Offshore Wind as Atlantic Coast Regional Energy Solution
September 13, 2012
Will Federal and State Leaders Take Advantage of America’s Golden Opportunity?
September 11, 2012
New Report Shows Value of “Aggregated Procurement” to Significantly Reduce Cost of Offshore Wind Energy
September 4, 2012
Malcolm D. Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) for the past five years, has joined "Advanced Energy Economy," a new national business association that seeks to promote energy efficiency as well as wind, solar and nuclear power. As the group's vice president for government and regulatory affairs, he said he expects to spend time advocating for favorable policies in Washington and in state capitals.
August 8, 2012
Partnership would harness onshore and offshore renewable energy for U.S. bases
July 30, 2012
Annapolis, Maryland (July 30, 2012) — The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced the first request for proposals (RFP) to be funded out of the Offshore Wind Development Fund developed as a result of the merger between Exelon and Constellation Energy. The RFP, entitled, “High Resolution Geophysical Resource Survey,” will fund a study on the geophysical resources of the area designated by the U.S. Department of Interior as suitable for offshore wind energy. The information gathered in the study will give developers a better understanding of the depth and texture of the sea floor and provide valuable information necessary for federal approval of an offshore wind farm.
“Offshore wind has the potential to be a big „win‟ for our State: a win for jobs, a win for consumers, a win for business, and a win for our energy future—an energy future which is cleaner, greener, more sustainable, and more affordable,” said Malcolm D. Woolf, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration. “I have confidence that the information gathered through this study will help Maryland reap the benefits of offshore wind.”
The ultimate objective of the data gathering mission is to develop a high-resolution map of Maryland‟s “Wind Energy Area” to reduce uncertainty associated with project development and ultimately lower project costs. This will support a large utility-scale wind farm that will supply consumers with a sustainable source of clean, reliable renewable energy, provide significant economic development benefits, and secure price stability for the future.
Proposals MUST be submitted by 2pm on September 6, 2012. There will be a pre-proposal conference held at the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) offices on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 10am. MEA is located at 60 West Street, Suite 300 in Annapolis.
To apply, please submit your proposal to:
Maryland Energy Administration 60 West Street, Suite 300 Annapolis, Maryland 21401 Attention: Maria Ulrich, Procurement Officer
April 2, 2012
Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center released a new report, “What Offshore Wind Means for Maryland: Environmental, Economic and Public Health Benefits Across the State,”detailing regional benefits throughout Maryland of clean energy and reduced global warming pollution. Release date: Friday, March 30, 2012
February 14, 2012
Clean Energy States Alliance submitted the following comments on the Draft Financial Assistance Opportunity No. DE-FOA-0000410, entitled U.S. Offshore Wind: Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects. CESA is a national non-profit organization that works with states to advance renewable energy policy, programs, finance, and technology innovation. CESA is a membership organization, composed of the major state clean energy programs in the country. CESA also facilitates a collaborative of state officials, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, industry representatives, and other offshore wind (OSW) stakeholders with the objective of accelerating the development of a robust OSW industry in the U.S. – the Offshore Wind Accelerator Project.
February 3, 2012
Clean Energy States Alliance Welcomes New Communications Project Director
December 2, 2011
Clean Energy States Alliance joined the Maryland Energy Administration, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Enviornmental Control, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Conservation Law Foundation in a letter addressed to US DOI Secretary Ken Salazar recommening that the Department announce the designatin of an ombudsman position to assist stakeholders who have a major unresolved conflct or issues with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) or other Department agencies with a role in the permitting and leasing program for offshore wind.
August 25, 2011
As part of Interior’s “Smart from the Start” offshore wind energy initiative to spur rapid and responsible siting, leasing and construction of new wind projects, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich today announced the initial steps to develop commercial wind energy on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts.