Industry officials worry federal rules could hurt development

Source: E&E • Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wind industry officials are concerned that a federal program designed to boost offshore wind construction will stymie growth.

Speaking at a panel during the annual Offshore Wind Power USA conference last week in Boston, developers discussed how the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s new rules on offshore wind contracts could hurt their businesses. The federal agency is slated to hold its first wind energy auction for two sites in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and one site in Virginia.

Jeff Grybowski — CEO of Deepwater Wind, which was chosen to build a demonstration project in Rhode Island — said he was concerned that his group would lose out to another bidder in the auction. Other developers in the region had similar concerns.

But BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau said the leasing process has the potential to aid industry goals.

“Part of our mission is to build confidence around this industry, and to make the potential [for offshore wind] realizable,” Beaudreau said during a panel discussion. “We’re moving forward with leasing for just that reason. I would rather take the bull by the horns on this and help push things along.

While there are no wind turbines in federal or state waters, the Atlantic Coast has as much as 1 million megawatts in offshore wind power potential, according to estimates (Maria Gallucci, Inside Climate News/Miami Herald, March 2).