Articles filed under Offshore Wind
During a virtual meeting that involved a level of discussion and debate unusual for the Power Siting Board, board members unanimously voted to rescind part of an order they issued last May that approved construction of the wind turbines only if the turbine blades didn’t move at night between March 1 and Nov. 1, on the grounds that they would harm bats and birds.
New developments have raised serious questions regarding the economic and job benefits from offshore wind energy projects in U.S. waters.
The three legislators, all of whom were sponsors of the Offshore Wind Development Act, asked the state agency to look into representations made by Ørsted in its application to hire union labor and set up a fund to ensure minority businesses and women-owned businesses have an opportunity to enter the offshore-wind industry. They also want the agency to reach out to colleagues in other states about whether they experienced similar problems.
While the decision announced last week did not go Ocean City’s way, the PSC did admonish the Skipjack project for not appropriately including the town and other stakeholders in the process, calling the company’s efforts at outreach “meager.” “Regarding outreach to stakeholders, the commission finds Skipjack’s efforts were deficient,” the order reads. “The order clearly imposes upon Skipjack the duty to work with stakeholders, including state and local officials, to discuss placement of the turbines in a manner that minimizes visual impacts.”
“Skipjack’s duty to reach out to stakeholders was not contingent on the stakeholders’ enthusiasm for the project,” according to the ruling. “Ocean City is an important stakeholder whose economy is vital to the state. Nor should Ocean City be punished for its lawful advocacy of a bill that would have required offshore wind turbines to be located at least 26 miles from shore.” As a result, the Public Service Commission ordered Ørsted to engage with its stakeholders more, including Ocean City, and provide updates every six months on the company's efforts.
Altogether, tracts off of the Carolinas could mean $45 billion in investment, the report reads. But interest has been lower in tracts off the Carolinas for several reasons, including “a lack of an offshore mandate … lower power prices, and lower capacity factors.”
The University of Maine will collaborate with New England Aqua Ventus LLC, which includes two global energy companies that are investing $100 million in the project. That investment comes on top of $47 million in grants already awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
“This table points out that the size and scale of what is being considered in the SEIS has not been studied to date and thus the existing literature under consideration in the SEIS may not adequately represent the situation in the U.S.,” the report states. “This issue is exemplified by the absence at the Mid-Atlantic scale of an evaluation of the basic siting plan for wind turbine field development. One does not know if the present profile is optimal in the sense of minimizing ecological and economic damage relative to cost and energy production potential. As a consequence, evaluation of the present plan must be conducted in a vacuum, when alternatives would provide important comparability.”
Offshore wind is the renewable-energy industry’s shiny new toy. Led by New York, seven Atlantic-coast states have now imposed mandates to expand offshore wind use over the next decade, with the Empire State last week soliciting bids for an additional 2,500 megawatts of offshore power, on top of the 1,700 megawatts procured previously.
OCEAN CITY — Independent stakeholders in one of two offshore wind projects appear to have little concern with the significantly larger turbines selected, according to briefs filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission following a hearing last month.
Bernhardt met with both industry and regulatory stakeholders to discuss the projects, and reassured fishermen that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has taken an interest in ensuring that wind projects accommodate the commercial fishing industry. “Ultimately, I need to have a development program that’s done in a way that’s sustainable for everybody,” Bernhardt said in a press conference after the meeting.
The offshore wind industry, the growth of which has been stunted by a longer-than-anticipated federal permitting process, is critical if Massachusetts and other Northeast states are to meet their carbon reduction goals, a bipartisan group of 40 state lawmakers wrote in a letter supporting the Vineyard Wind I project planned for waters 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.
New York-based Save Our Shores issued this important message warning of the threat to the state's rural areas and the US Great Lakes under Governor Cuomo's aggressive renewable energy policy. The press release isprovided below and can also be accessed by clicking the document links on this page.
Danish energy company Ørsted is no longer seeking to connect an offshore wind farm to the mainland at Fenwick Island State Park.
Following the completion of more thorough evaluations of the area proposed for the facility, Ørsted has determined that a large portion of the site is comprised of undisturbed wetlands. Accordingly, Ørsted has notified DNREC that it will no longer pursue plans to build the interconnection facility at Fenwick Island State Park as initially proposed.
A Coast Guard study that recommends against designated vessel transit lanes through New England offshore wind turbine arrays “contains serious foundational and analytical errors that merit correction,” commercial fishing advocates say in a formal objection to the findings.
The massive towers now installed off Virginia Beach were assembled in Nova Scotia and brought down on a special ship that held them vertically. Driven into the sea floor like nails, the structures now stand 620 feet above the waves. The Washington Monument, by contrast, is 555 feet tall. On Monday it took a tour boat five hours round trip to visit the towers, which occupy a 112,800-acre site Dominion leases from the federal government.
The impact on local commercial fishing from the Vineyard Wind project was rated as moderate, while the report predicted that the cumulative impact on all offshore wind development planned for the next decade could be major.
The agency “recognizes that fishing is an important use of federal waters that will be considered in its decision-making,” according to the statement. “BOEM will engage with commercial and recreational fishermen to ensure a full understanding of potential impacts. BOEM will solicit input from the fishing community for project siting, best management practices, research, and monitoring.” Specific to the Vineyard Wind project, the environmental statement considers six alternative scenarios for laying out the array – including a dedicated vessel transit lane, as wide as four nautical miles, that was proposed by the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a coalition of fishing groups.
The analysis found none of the alternative layouts provided any significant advantage for the fishing industry. “The overall cumulative impacts of any alternative when combined with past, present, and reasonably foreseeable activities on commercial fisheries and for-hire recreational fishing would be major,” the report said. “This impact rating is driven mostly by changes to fish distribution/availability due to climate change, reduced stock levels due to fishing mortality, and permanent impacts due to the presence of structures (cable protection measures and foundations).” The assessment also found that the configuration with a navigation lane reduced the amount of power produced by the wind farm areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts by about 3,300 megawatts.