Two offshore wind power players have put in unsolicited proposals to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, setting the stage for the agency to hold competitive bidding for areas to deploy floating turbines. If fully developed, any of the three could provide 25% of Oahu’s power needs.
A BOEM map shows proposed wind farm development areas off Oahu.Progression Hawaii Offshore Wind LLC, Honolulu, a subsidiary of Progression Energy based in Portland, Ore., delivered its proposal for up to 400 megawatts generation in waters south of Oahu. The company’s offer comes on the heels of two similarly sized proposals from AW Hawaii Offshore Wind Inc., a Honolulu subsidiary of the Alpha Wind Energy partnership headquartered in Denmark.
The Alpha Wind group submitted its Oahu Northwest and Oahu South proposals in January 2015, and Progression submitted its proposal in October. All three propose to use turbines on anchored WindFloat platforms, connected by cable to the Oahu grid.
In its proposal Progression says average water depths in its preferred area are 2,700’. The company says it has worked with Hawaiian and other stakeholders to determine acceptable and unacceptable areas, and its 121 square-mile southern area has does not have major issues such as fishing access, shipping traffic, visibility from shore or other conflicts.
Similarly, Alpha Wind says it has been studying wind potential in Hawaii since 2005 and learned enough from stakeholders to minimize conflicts with its sites. The group touts its partners’ experience in the European wind power industry, including A. Silva Matos (ASM Group) of Portugal, which built and operated an early WindFloat installation with a Vesta 2 megawatt machine two years ago.
Floating turbines are being proposed as a way to exploit wind resources on deepwater sites, and reduce project costs and user conflicts in some regions. Progression partners Principle Power plans a floating turbine demonstration project on the continental shelf off Oregon.
Statoil proposes its own 30-megawatt Hywind demonstrator project off Scotland.