Recent contracts for 1.2 gigawatts of offshore wind development have thrust Massachusetts and Rhode Island into the lead among U.S. states preparing to participate in a nascent but rapidly-growing market, Greentech Media reports.
Both states announced their projects last Wednesday, with Massachusetts contracting with Iberdrola’s Avangrid Renewables and Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners for up to 800 MW of production off Martha’s Vineyard, and Rhode Island turning to Deepwater Wind for a 400-MW installation.
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Vineyard Wind “is the first contract to meet a goal set by Massachusetts lawmakers in 2016 to build 1.6 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2027,” Greentech states. The Rhode Island contract was “not an unexpected choice, given that Deepwater is also the developer of the 30-megawatt demonstration-scale Block Island project off the state’s coast—the only offshore wind power installation in the country to date.”
In a release, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo noted that Deepwater’s Revolution Wind project is more than 10 times the size of the Block Island demonstration. “Rhode Island made history when we built the first offshore wind farm in the United States,” she said. “Today, we are doing it again.”
Citing research analyst Anthony Logan of MAKE Consulting, Greentech points to the logistical challenges the projects could face as a brand new industry begins to scale up. “The scale of capacity for both projects will push the limits of what the industry can do without access to a domestic turbine installation vessel,” GTM notes. “On the plus side, both projects are leveraging recent European technology advances that have brought down the levelized cost of energy for offshore wind there.”
MAKE recently increased its projection of installed offshore wind capacity in the U.S. from 2.3 to 5.6 GW by 2026. “The increase stems primarily from a new executive order from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, committing the state to 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030,” Greentech writes. New York State, Maryland, and Virginia are also looking to enter the field.