Offshore Wind

Offshore Wind Area Detailed for Gulf of Maine; New York Project Delivering Power

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its designation of an offshore wind energy area in the Gulf of Maine. The BOEM, in a notice published in the Federal Register on March 18, said two million acres has been earmarked for development in that region.

The BOEM in its announcement said the agency would prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the area. The region covers 2 million acres, and is located 23 miles to 92 miles off the coasts of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

BOEM also Monday published a notice of intent to prepare an EIS related to a construction and operations plan submitted by Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, specifically for the Atlantic Shores North project. That installation would be sited in an area of more than 81,000 acres, about 60 miles off the coast of New York and just more than 8 miles off the New Jersey coast.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, meanwhile, on March 14 announced that the South Fork Wind offshore project is now delivering electricity to the power grid on Long Island, part of New York’s strategy to have 9 GW of offshore wind generation capacity deployed by 2035.

“When I broke ground on the South Fork project, I made a promise to build a cleaner, greener future for all New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “I’m keeping to that promise and South Fork Wind is now delivering clean energy to tens of thousands of homes and businesses on Long Island.”

Gulf of Maine Development

The BOEM in a statement issued March 15, prior to Monday’s official announcement in the Federal Register, said the Gulf of Maine area, which offshore wind advocates have identified as a region critical for U.S. renewable energy development, “avoids important areas for lobster fishing, North Atlantic right whale habitat, and other important fishing areas and habitats.”

The BOEM said the region could potentially support up to 32 GW of wind energy generation. The agency said that total would exceed “current state goals for offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Maine,” and could provide “10 GW for Massachusetts and 3 GW for Maine.”

Maine Gov. Janet Mills, along with the state’s U.S. senators Angus King and Susan Collins, were among lawmakers who expressed support for the state’s offshore wind development. The group issued a joint statement that said the area “preserves vital fishing grounds and seeks to minimize potential environmental and ecological impacts to the Gulf of Maine.”

The state issued an offshore wind roadmap last year, noting the state’s goal of receiving 80% of its power from renewable energy by 2030, and 100% by 2040. The BOEM on Monday said it would seek public comment through April 17 about “important environmental issues” and the “identification of reasonable alternatives” to be considered by the environmental assessment of the Gulf of Maine region.

Atlantic Shores

The Atlantic Shores group in its plan said it would install as many as 157 wind turbines, along with eight offshore substations, one permanent meteorological tower, and two temporary metocean buoys for its project. The proposal also calls for two potential export cable corridors making landfall at Sea Girt, New Jersey, and in either the New York City area or near Asbury Park, New Jersey.

The BOEM published its EIS for Atlantic Shores South last year. Atlantic Shores is a 50/50 joint venture between EDF-RE Offshore Development, a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF Renewables, and Shell New Energies US. Total generation capacity of the two Atlantic Shores projects is pegged at about 2.8 GW; they could be in service no later than 2028.

“BOEM is continuing to implement the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy agenda, while maintaining a careful approach to prevent, reduce, and address any adverse effects on ocean users and the marine ecosystem,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein in a statement Monday. “As an integral part of our environmental assessments, we will continue to actively solicit feedback from Tribes; federal, state, and local government partners; the fishing community; and the public to help guide our actions.”

The BOEM, as part of its EIS notice, said it would seek public comment through May 2 about the Atlantic Shores North project.

South Fork Wind Comes Online

Ørsted and Eversource’s 130-MW South Fork Wind project features 12 turbines. Construction began early in 2022. Hochul on Thursday said the installation is delivering power to the grid although commissioning is still ongoing.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland joined Hochul at a ceremony Thursday to mark the milestone. “Every day, the Interior Department is answering President Biden’s call and moving rapidly to create a robust and sustainable clean energy economy that creates jobs, boosts local economies and helps address environmental justice. We’re thrilled to celebrate the completion of the South Fork project, which will deliver 130 MW of wind energy to Long Island … Today is further proof that America’s clean energy transition is not a dream for a distant future—it’s happening right here and now.”

“Completion of the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the United States is an important national milestone, a significant step towards achieving New York State’s ambitious climate goals, and essential for delivering clean energy directly to New Yorkers,” said Jessica Ottney Mahar, policy and strategy director at The Nature Conservancy in New York, in a statement.

Anne Reynolds, American Clean Power Vice President for Offshore Wind, in a statement emailed to POWER said,Bringing clean, emissions-free offshore wind energy to Long Island has been a long time coming … At the American Clean Power Association, we celebrate this new clean electricity source for New York State and know it will be the first of many for the nation. ”

New York has set a goal of deploying 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035.

“With more projects in the pipeline, this is just the beginning of New York’s offshore wind future and I look forward to continued partnership with the Biden administration and local leaders to build a clean and resilient energy grid,” said Hochul, noting projects much larger than South Fork Wind are in development. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, known as NYSERDA, in February selected the 810-MW Empire Wind 1 and 924-MW Sunrise Wind projects as part of the state’s fourth offshore wind solicitation.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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