The 2021 US Offshore Wind Market Update
Submarine Power Cable, a Hot Commodity That May Now Need Storage
By Bill Wall
September 23, 2021
Since my last Offshore Energy article for STF (Issue # 108 Pre-Pandemic September 2019) the number of Offshore Wind Farms in the US has doubled! Wow you say that is great, but in reality there are now two offshore wind farms. The addition of the 2-Turbine, 12MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Pilot (CVOW Pilot) 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, see Figure 1 below, boosted the operating energy output of the US offshore wind industry to a new high of 42MW (Block Island 30MW + CVOW Pilot 12MW). This contrasts with a European operating total of over 25,000MW (25GW). The CVOW pilot was the first offshore wind farm to be built in US federal waters controlled by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) the regulatory agency managing the lease and use of federal lands off the coast of the US. OK enough on current statistics, congratulations to Dominion Energy the developer of the CVOW pilot and further congratulations to Dominion on the progress on their utility scale 2.6GW CVOW Commercial project to be built off the coast of Virginia Beach. The CVOW Commercial Project is due to come on-line in 2026 and at peak output will serve the electrical needs of over a million households.
2021 US East Coast Offshore Wind Update
The big news in 2021 is that the pipeline of Offshore Wind projects ready to deploy has increased dramatically. Also there has been an influx of big-name energy companies vying for BOEM leases in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lands especially off the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Coasts. Companies like Shell, BP, Total, etc. usually dominant in the offshore Oil & Gas markets are now active participants in the US Offshore Wind development market. The US East Coast area has exploded with projects that are either close to construction starting or are in the permitting phase prior to getting the go-ahead to start construction.
Figure 2 above shows the status on the US East Coast of current projects and tentative Wind Energy Areas (WEA) and Call Areas designated as such by BOEM.
The US Federal Regulator BOEM (https://www.boem.gov/) is an agency of the US Department of the Interior and regulates the leasing of offshore sites for offshore wind energy development and for Offshore Oil & Gas exploration and production under the auspices of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (August 7th, 1953). BOEM, after receiving input from adjoining states, designates “Call Areas” as possible sites for offshore wind development; those sites are then scrutinized for environmental & energy production suitability during a detailed Public Review process. If deemed viable the areas are then designated as “Wind Energy Areas” (WEA) and eventually offered to pre-qualified offshore wind developers under a competitive leasing auction.
It is exciting to note that most of the named projects shown in Figure 2 that have contracts to supply offshore wind energy to various states along the East Coast are utility scale projects. Ocean Wind 1 (Orsted) has a contract to supply 1100MW to New Jersey, also in New Jersey Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind (EDF/Shell) is supplying 1500MW. In Massachusetts Vineyard Wind 1 (CIP/Avangrid) is under contract to deliver 800MW+, Mayflower Wind (Shell/Ocean Winds) is also slated to generate 804MW in Massachusetts. With projects like these lined up to come on-line in the late 2020’s it will not be long before the US is able to gain some ground on the European lead in the production of energy from Offshore Wind.