Full Sail Ahead for Offshore Wind Power

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America’s coastlines are home to over half of the nation’s population. As people flock to seaside areas, where real estate is scarce and wind is abundant, interest has increased in adding offshore wind power to the generation mix. And as a result, last week the nation’s largest offshore wind farm was approved by the Long Island Power Authority’s board.

The wind array, situated in the waters between the eastern edge of Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard, will house 15 turbines within a 256-square mile parcel that developer Deepwater Wind has leased from the federal government. The turbines are about 600 feet tall and will not be visible from shore but will send power to a substation in East Hampton by way of a 50-mile undersea cable.

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The Long Island farm is part of a plan to meet New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal to source 50 percent of the state’s power from renewable generation sources by 2030, the New York Times reports. That plan includes 2.4 gigawats of wind. The farm is slated to begin transmitting power by the end of 2022. But first, developers will study the ocean floor to determine where and how to best anchor the turbines. Following this evaluation, the developer will have to navigate the federal and state permitting process.

The project’s cost is estimated at $740 million. Jeffrey Grybowski, the company’s chief executive told the New York Times that Deepwater Wind plans to finance it with loans and equity investments. He also feels confident that the project will qualify for an investment tax credit worth 24 percent of the development’s cost. To qualify, however, the project would need to demonstrate construction activity by 2019.

Under the contract, the utility will purchase all of the electricity delivered from the turbines for a price comparable to what it would pay for other utility-scaled renewables— about 16 cents per kilowatt-hour—more than double its average wholesale price of 7.5 cents.

“We think that thousands of megawatts are going to be built off the coast of the United States in the coming decades,” Grybowski told the New York Times. “It’s an enormous clean energy resource. It’s easy for us to tap into, but we need projects to get from essentially one project to these thousands of megawatts.”

Do you think that we will see an increase in wind power projects in the next few years? How will the new administration’s policies influence the adoption of this generation method?DE_bug_web

 

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