Spotlight Activity: Offshore Wind Energy Takes Off in the Northeast
New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced in July that the state will begin the procurement process for 800 MW of offshore wind energy. The state will solicit bids from developers beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018, and will announce the winner in the second quarter of 2019. This procurement is part of a larger state-level commitment to a capacity of 2400 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030.
The procurement follows a similar process led by Massachusetts last year, which resulted in a contract awarded in May 2018 to Vineyard Wind for another 800-MW wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts. The state currently has a commitment to 1600 MW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.
With Massachusetts and New York in the lead, several other states in the Northeast have taken bold steps toward carbon-neutrality with their own offshore wind commitments this summer. In May, Rhode Island contracted 400 MW of offshore wind energy from Deepwater Wind, the developer of the state’s existing 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm. In June, Connecticut contracted 200 MW from the same developer. Although New Jersey has not yet entered into any contracts, in May the state’s Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a commitment to procuring 3500 MW of offshore wind energy.
Status: Right Direction
Offshore wind has been a powerful source of renewable energy in Europe for at least a decade, but until Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm went into operation last year, the United States was slow to follow in Europe’s footsteps. Now, after several years of planning and discussing the potential of offshore wind energy on the Atlantic Coast, states in the Northeast are beginning to take action. With bold, state-level commitments to offshore wind signed into law, these states are moving forward to address climate change, while also touting the economic benefit that creating a new energy industry will bring to the region.
Perhaps due to this economic benefit, the Trump Administration has offered cautious support to the growing industry, marking a win for climate change mitigation efforts in a time of strong federal opposition.
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Connecticut – Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Commissioner Robert Klee
Phone: (860) 424-3571
Massachusetts – Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Secretary Matthew A. Beaton
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New Jersey – Board of Public Utilities
President Joseph L. Fiordaliso
Phone: (609) 633-9842
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New York – Energy Research and Development Authority
Rhode Island – Office of Energy Resources
Commissioner Carol Grant
Phone: (401) 574-9119