Articles filed under Offshore Wind
With the federal tax credit for offshore wind projects about to expire, every day counts.
Connie Gillette, chief of public affairs for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said Friday the agency took the action after receiving comments “from stakeholders and cooperating agencies” requesting a more robust cumulative analysis that would include projects that have been awarded power purchase agreements, but may not have submitted construction and operations plans.
Vineyard Wind’s, the $2.8 billion, 800-megawatt offshore wind project planned for waters off Martha’s Vineyard, appears to have been delayed, perhaps significantly, by the federal government.
The Trump administration was unsatisfied with the studies done on how much the wind industry would impact the fishing industry and has ordered an extended review: "An Interior Department review explored how Vineyard Wind may affect other industries and resources, including marine life. But the National Marine Fisheries Service raised concerns it looked too narrowly at potential cumulative effects on fishing, prompting the supplemental review."
The blackout may have been caused by the unexpected shutdowns of the Hornsea offshore wind farm, which is owned by the Danish wind farm company Orsted, and the Little Barford gas-fired power plant, owned by German utility giant RWE. National Grid data showed both of the generators dropped from the grid at around the same time. ...“We would have expected the system to cope with this size of loss of generation,” an Enappsys spokesman said. “This implies that there may have been [other] issues at the time of the trips.”
Beyond the immediate concerns with permitting, Vineyard Wind faces a tangle of logistical challenges and potential investor turmoil if the project continues to see delays. Anthony Logan, an industry expert with the renewables research firm Wood Mackenzie Power, has spent the past six years forecasting the wind energy field. He said that while Vineyard Wind, barring major disaster, remains poised to become the first industrial-scale offshore wind-farm in the U.S., the financial success of the project is dependent on qualifying for a federal tax incentive for wind energy projects, known as the investment tax credit (ITC).
States are the driving force to boosting offshore wind in the U.S., but challenges remain regarding offshore operator collaboration, managing relationships with supply chains, and navigating state and federal approvals, Ram Sunkara and Joshua Belcher of Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP write.
One section of the proposed cable route passes through the Muskeget Channel about a mile from Chappaquiddick, and therefore falls under the auspices of the Edgartown conservation commission. In a 5-1 vote, the commission denied Vineyard Wind a permit to lay cable in the channel. Vineyard Wind has since appealed to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
"Officials from Homeland Security confirmed to me that the major shadows cast by these incredibly large structures would make their radar systems useless in that Southtown’s coastline,” Jacobs said in a statement. “The frequency of illegal drug smuggling and human trafficking in this corridor is reason enough for me to oppose this wind turbine project."
Vineyard Wind already agreed to a nearly $17 million mitigation package in Rhode Island. But it doesn’t look like that will be enough. The fishing industry still has many issues. For example, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association is worried about the effect these giant towers could have on boat radar, and the impediments that transmission cables could cause.
BOEM spokesman Stephen Boutwell said NMFS is required to co-sign the project’s Record of Decision, a formal decision document, for the permit to be issued. The final environmental impact study and record of decision had originally been expected in April but were later delayed to June and then early July. Boutwell said the agency does not “have a date for these publications at this time.”
The National Marine Fisheries Service is refusing to sign off on an environmental impact report originally expected July 7, Reuters said, citing previously unseen federal documents. Fishing industry representatives want proposed wind turbines farther apart than the currently planned 0.75 nautical mile, want the turbines aligned east-west instead of northwest-southeast, and want compensation for any damage to their livelihoods, according to Reuters.
Electricity bills could double to bail out new wind farms that have massively underestimated their operating costs, a former adviser to the World Bank has claimed. Two offshore wind projects secured contracts to supply renewable energy at reduced costs in 2017 and it was hailed the result of huge strides made in technology and engineering, sparking hopes of a green jobs boom.
LEEDCo describes Icebreaker Wind as a “demonstration project” and states among its other missions as an organization are to drive future offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes, creating thousands of jobs and contributing to clean air and water. The problem with the project for the Lake Erie Foundation and others opposed to offshore wind farms here is the potentially devastating impact it could have a migrating birds that traverse the lake.
Members of Congress have become involved in trying to move Vineyard Wind forward, a top Baker administration official said Tuesday, as lobbying intensifies to advance what state officials hope will be the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project.
Let’s assume New York paid the same subsidy as Maryland officials plan for their offshore-wind project. That would mean guaranteeing a payment of $131.93 per megawatt-hour. Based on last year’s average wholesale costs of electricity in New York City ($41.16) and Long Island ($45.05), that means the projects will need, and get, an annual subsidy of about $528 million.
Renewable energy advocates lauded the announcement as a record-breaking commitment to offshore wind projects. In June, New Jersey announced the previous largest offshore wind contract, selecting Ørsted to construct a 1.1 GW project off the coast of Atlantic City.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management offered no explanation for the holdup but said more time was needed. The spokesman also noted that the agency was well within the two-year review window for such projects. The two-year review window is up in March 2020 – after construction was scheduled to begin.
Wainscott resident Si Kinsella, who has raised concerns about the wind farm and sued the state to fully disclose the cost of the project, said it was important to have an independent expert review the application. “I think it’s a very sensible move to bring on some experts,” he said, adding that the town should have taken the step when the project was announced in 2017. “Better late than never," Kinsella said.