U.S. states set gigawatt goals for offshore wind

Three different states plan for gigawatt grids, powered by wind turbines with >90-meter-long composite blades, to help combat climate change.
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Offshore wind turbines rely on ever longer composite blades — Siemens Gamesa’s 10+ MW turbine blades stretch to 94 meters and GE’s Heliade-X span 107 meters — to generate clean, renewable energy. Three different states recently announced their progress toward gigawatt grids to help combat climate change and fossil fuel jobs loss.



With deep waters and some of the highest wind speeds in the country, California has 112 GW of offshore wind power potential, meaning it could produce 1.5 times as much electricity as the state uses in one year, according to “The California Offshore Wind Project: A Vision for Industry Growth,” a new report from the American Jobs Project in partnership with the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, Pacific Ocean Energy Trust, and BVG Associates.

The report notes that floating offshore wind turbines are a “natural choice” for California, because roughly 95% of the state’s available offshore wind resources are in waters deeper than 60 meters, where turbines with fixed-bottom foundations aren’t feasible.

The report set out a list of key strategies:

  • Set a market acceleration target;
  • Establish a phased approach to workforce development;
  • Align innovation and access to capital with industry needs;
  • Upgrade ports and establishing port innovation districts;
  • Appoint a California offshore wind czar

Through the passage of State Bill 100 in 2018, California is set to achieve 100% clean energy by 2045. “California’s coast offers some of the highest wind resource potential in the country,” says Arne Jacobson, director of the Schatz Energy Research Center. Offshore wind can help California meet this goal and achieve a carbon-free energy future while tapping into rapidly decreasing costs and growing demand for this technology and providing good-paying jobs for workers transitioning from the fossil fuel sector.


New York

Vineyard Wind has proposed a new offshore wind project that could provide up to 1.2 GW of power, enough to deliver emission-free energy for more than 750,000 New York homes. This proposed Liberty Wind project was submitted in response to New York’s recent offshore wind solicitation.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Nov 2018 solicitation called for at least 0.8 GW of new offshore wind projects for New York, quadrupling the state’s offshore wind target to 9 GW by 2035, up from 2.4 GW by 2030.

Located 85 miles from shore, the 1.2 GW Liberty Wind project would not be visible from any New York shoreline, yet deliver clean power directly to the New York grid via an existing substation on Long Island.

“Liberty Wind will bring clean energy at the lowest price to New York ratepayers, along with substantial economic benefits for the state … ,” says Lars Thaaning Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. “This is the first leg of a well-designed New York ocean grid for offshore wind …,” adds Ed Krapels, CEO of Anbaric, a partner in Vineyard Wind, which is also currently in the process of permitting and financing its 800 MW Massachusetts offshore wind proposal.


New Jersey

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has released a report detailing its progress toward the state’s offshore wind goals. “We have gone from having no program on the day the governor was inaugurated 55 weeks ago to developing a cutting-edge offshore wind program with a goal of 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030,” states Joseph L. Fiordaliso, president of the NJBPU.

A key piece of the governor’s clean energy initiatives aimed at combating the effects of climate change, this offshore wind activity includes soliciting bids for the first 1.1 GW of offshore wind and a request by the governor to consider an additional 1.2 GW solicitations in 2020 and 2022 as part of the goal of 3.5 GW by 2030.


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