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Winds of change?

Recently there have been a few rumblings about offshore wind farms in the United States with potential project developments on both East and West coasts.
#sustainability #gerenewable #windblades

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While the status of wind energy projects in the US tends to be as changing as, well, the wind, last week saw some exciting developments. Potential offshore wind farm projects were reported for both East and West coasts.

The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM, Washington, DC, US) is conducting assessments of the Atlantic Coast for offshore wind farm locations and is seeking public input. More information about how to submit input is available on the BOEM website.

Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP, Hartford, CT, US) received three offshore wind farm bids in response to a request for renewable energy proposals. The proposals came from Deepwater Wind (Providence, RI, US), Vineyard Wind (New Bedford, MA, US), and Bay State Wind, a joint venture between Eversource Energy (Boston, MA, US) and Orsted (Fredericia, Denmark)

Meanwhile on the West Coast, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA, Eureka, CA, US) has selected a consortium of companies comprised of Principle Power Inc. (Emeryville, CA, US), EDPR Offshore North America LLC (Houston, TX, US), Aker Solutions Inc. (Fornebu, Bærum, Norway), H.T. Harvey & Associates (Los Gatos, CA, US) and Herrera Environmental Consultants Inc. (Seattle, WA, US) to partner in pursuit of development of a floating offshore wind farm 20 miles off the Northern California coast.

Whether these projects get the go ahead and what it will mean for the composites industry remains to be seen. Currently most turbines for offshore wind are built in Europe. Transport of the enormous structures would be an issue and given the current administration’s push for more homegrown manufacturing it seems that most offshore wind ventures would be looking toward manufacturing in the US. Bay State Wind reported April 3 a partnership with international steel pipe manufacturer EEW to open a Massachusetts facility to manufacture steel components, namely the monopole foundations and transition pieces. But what about composite components – specifically blades? The blades for Block Island, the US’s first offshore wind farm, were manufactured in Denmark by LM Wind Power (Lunderskov Municipality, Denmark) and shipped by boat. There is currently no company based in the US  fabricating the large blades needed for offshore wind.

Still, for now the attitude toward offshore wind seems to be positive. It will be interesting to see what happens to hopefully bring these projects to fruition.

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