Vineyard Wind, developers release offshore wind plans

Source: By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Developers are unveiling proposals to build and generate power from Connecticut’s first offshore wind project, even as the industry awaits the Trump administration’s verdict on potential conflicts with fishing.

Three joint ventures said yesterday they had submitted project ideas to the state’s energy authority in response to an August solicitation for up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power, or about 30% of Connecticut’s electricity.

Among the ventures was Vineyard Wind, whose plans for the nation’s first utility-scale project near Massachusetts remain on hold as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management studies the impacts of offshore wind on the regional fishing industry.

The company said its Park City Wind proposal in Connecticut could generate between 408 and 1,200 MW from one of two lease areas located south of Martha’s Vineyard. The city of Bridgeport would serve as a host port and staging ground.

“Our Park City Wind proposal is much more than an energy project — it’s an opportunity for Connecticut to develop a world-class offshore wind industry in Bridgeport and solidify its role as a high-value industry hub in the U.S. for years to come,” said CEO Lars Pedersen.

A separate joint venture made up of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy sent in a proposal dubbed Constitution Wind, starting at a minimum of 400 MW and located 65 miles off New London, according to spokespeople. The companies had previously committed to spending $57 million on upgrades to the New London port.

Mayflower Wind, which is backed by Shell New Energies and EDP Renewables, applied to Connecticut to build a 408-MW and an 804-MW project.

It was not immediately clear how cheaply the developers would be able to produce that power. Mayflower Wind’s applications, which were made public online, redacted information regarding the levelized cost of energy and the role of federal tax credits.

BOEM’s decision to delay Vineyard Wind’s permits this summer came as a surprise to some developers and federal legislators from Massachusetts, who accused the Trump administration of unfairly hindering a key future source of clean energy.

But Northeast states have largely continued their work to jump-start offshore wind, a fact underscored by the speed of Connecticut’s solicitation process: The state’s 2,000-MW target was only passed into law in June, and authorities were recently striving to award project rights as soon as November.

Developers have also continued submitting new ideas, including a 220-turbine proposal from Dominion Energy Inc. that would be the largest offshore wind farm yet.

“Although we would prefer Vineyard was not delayed, we understand BOEM wants to establish a fair, transparent process, which should benefit the entire industry moving forward,” said Blair Matocha, a spokesperson for EDP Renewables.