US offshore wind’s first movers’ lessons for future development

The up-and-coming US offshore wind industry can learn from “first movers” who have already approved wind farms or commissioned pilot projects, according to the speakers at the digital Clean Power 2021 (June 7-10).

According to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly, the US currently has only 42 MW of operational offshore wind capacity.

However, it now has a national target of 30 GW by 2030, and several states have set or are in the process of setting individual targets.

Hurdles cleared

The USA’s first large offshore wind farm is to be built by Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners 800MW vineyard wind Vineyard wind (800MW) offshorein front of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA, North America Click here for full details Project off the coast of Massachusetts.

Earlier this year, the US government gave the project the go-ahead after it had been federally and publicly audited and publicly consulted for more than three years on the environmental impact of the wind farms.

Speaking at the American Clean Power Association’s 2021 conference, Lars Thaaning Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind said the “very long” process could be educational for the entire industry.

“We had to go through a number of premieres to get here and we’re glad we cleared those hurdles,” he said.

“We got the first project on the right track, but also set some markers for the next wave in the industry. Hopefully people can look back on the experiences we have had for the benefit of all of us. “

The developers reached out to local stakeholders – particularly the New England commercial fishing industry – to facilitate approval of the project, noted Pedersen (above).

“We were very aware of our ‘first mover’ status and we made agreements and collaborations for the first project that put the industry on the right track,” he added.

“It wasn’t always successful, but I think we moved the discussion forward.”

All the way through

Meanwhile, Dominion Energy got his one late last year 12 MW coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) – Pilot (12 MW) Offshorein front of Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, North America Click here for full details Offshore Virginia project – the first offshore wind farm in federal rather than state waters.

Mark Mitchell (below), senior vice president of project construction at Dominion Energy, said it was a useful experience for industry players and government agencies to guide a project from start to finish, from development and approval to construction and commissioning .

It will be especially useful if the developer has the 2640 MW Virginia Coast Offshore Wind (CVOW) – Commercial Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) – Commercial (2640MW) Offshorein front of Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, North America Click here for full details Project slated to go online in 2026, he added.

A shortage of installation vessels became apparent early on in the process of the 12 MW pilot project.

The developer has since ordered an offshore wind turbine installation ship from Seajacks that complies with the Jones Act – which requires ships to sail under the US flag in US waters. The ship is currently under construction in Texas and is scheduled for delivery in 2023. It is used for the 2.6 GW wind farm.

“We thought it would be a good idea for the project and for the entire industry in the US,” said Mitchell.

“We will see more ships: SOVs (Service Operation Ships), CTVs (Crew Transfer Ships) and wind turbine installation ships.”

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