State officials in Massachusetts and Maryland announced on Friday that they have selected offshore wind proposals to bring an additional 1,600 megawatts of potential generation for each state.
The Massachusetts projects are Commonwealth Wind, a 1,232 MW joint venture by Avangrid Renewables, and Mayflower Wind, a 400 MW plan. The projects are especially significant for the expectation they will bring new investment to the port cities of Salem and Falls River, including new shipbuilding, and construction of a cable facility at Brayton Point.
Brayton Point, the site of an old coal generation plant, has electric ’s grid infrastructure and waterfront location for “an ideal interconnection location for offshore wind,” according to Mayflower officials.
Over the last three years Anabaric redeveloped the site for using state-of-the-art high voltage direct current technology that minimizes marine cabling, and sold its transmission rights to Mayflower Wind in summer 2021.
“Anbaric specializes in developing transmission infrastructure for offshore wind and other forms of clean energy,” said Anbaric CEO Clarke Bruno. “Brayton Point was once the site of New England’s largest coal plant, and we began positioning to replace that power with clean offshore wind energy three years ago. To see this project selected is a realization of the opportunity to create a clean energy hub to benefit the region with jobs and investment. We are thrilled to see this project moving forward as a prime example of an efficient approach to integrating clean energy and enabling the industry to scale.”
The developers and state officials envision Salem as the state’s second wind port in addition to New Bedford, now base of operations for the Vineyard Wind 800 MW project.
“Home to the first US. commercial-scale offshore wind farm, Massachusetts continues to drive the domestic offshore wind market forward with its full embrace of this generation technology,” said Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the industry nonprofit group Business Network for Offshore Wind.
“While progress in the U.S. has been noteworthy, the global growth of the offshore wind industry continues at a blistering pace, which will put further strain on supply chains,” said Burdock. “This further emphasizes the critical need for state and federal stakeholders to maintain momentum in 2022 and continue prioritizing domestic supply chain development and offshore wind adoption.”
Meanwhile, the Maryland Public Service Commission awarded offtake agreements to two offshore wind plans that will generate a combined 1,654.5 MW: the Ørsted Skipjack II and US Wind Momentum Wind projects.
The new projects are in addition to 368 MW already being developed by both companies off Delmarva. In the second round of applications ending in June 2021, US Wind submitted three bids, and Skipjack submitted two bids.
“The proposals were evaluated on a number of criteria, including impacts to customer electric bills, Maryland‘s health, environmental and climate interests —i\ncluding progress towards lowering the state‘s greenhouse gas emissions — and economic development benefits to the state,” according to the commission.
Maryland state lawmakers and officials demand that wind development bring many direct economic benefits to the state’s business community and workforce, and the commission attached numerous conditions to the approval.
The developers must create a minimum of 10,324 direct jobs during the development, construction and operating phases of the projects; commit to certain goals to engage small, local and minority businesses; pass 80 percent of any construction costs savings to ratepayers; and contribute $6 million each to the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund.
“Both companies will also be required to mitigate any potential adverse environmental, noise and lighting impacts during development, construction and operation,” according to a commission statement. “The commission‘s conditional approval also obligates the companies to use port facilities at Tradepoint Atlantic in the Baltimore area, and in Ocean City, for marshaling, operations and maintenance activities.
“US Wind must hold to its commitment to develop a monopile construction facility at Sparrows Point (Sparrows Point Steel); Skipjack will need to fulfill its plan to build subsea cable and turbine tower manufacturing facilities in Maryland, and invest in upgrades to an Eastern Shore company that assembles steel components for wind turbine foundations.”
Skipjack plans to site its turbines 20 miles off the Maryland coast, while US Wind says its closest turbines would be 15 miles off the beach.
Municipal officials of Ocean City, Md., continue to insist that having turbines in view from the beach will damage their tourism economy, and at the commission meeting they asked again that the commission require all turbines to be located at least 30 miles from shore.
“The commission declined to take that step since the projects are sited in federal waters and are subject to BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) review, but it will require both developers to use the best commercially-reasonable efforts to minimize the daytime and nighttime viewshed impacts of the projects—regardless of the outcome of the federal review processes,” according to a commission statement.
“We are honored that Maryland’s Public Service Commission selected Ørsted as a trusted partner in helping the state reach its ambitious renewable energy goals, and we’re proud that we’re once again able to leverage our market-leading portfolio of offshore wind projects to attract major supply chain companies to set up local manufacturing operations in Maryland,” said David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America.
“Skipjack Wind 2 will contribute significantly to Maryland’s goal of sourcing 50 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030, while positioning Maryland as a long-term offshore wind energy manufacturing hub. We look forward to delivering on our commitments now, and well into the future, so that Maryland residents benefit from offshore wind for decades to come.”
With Skipjack Wind 2, Ørsted is partnering with Hellenic Cables SA to establish the U.S.’s first fully integrated array cable manufacturing facility in Maryland.
“Ørsted will also facilitate the construction of a world-class offshore wind tower manufacturing facility in the state, which can produce 100 turbine towers annually,” the company said. “Ørsted is already developing Maryland’s first offshore wind operations and maintenance facility in West Ocean City, and in October established Maryland’s first offshore wind steel fabrication center at Crystal Steel Fabricators in Federalsburg.”