Dong Energy proposes world's largest offshore wind farm off Massachusetts coast

Dive Brief:

  • Dong Energy, the world’s biggest offshore wind developer, announced plans this week to build a wind farm that could be as large as 1,000 MW 15 miles off the Massachusetts coast.
  • The project — slated for an area of the Atlantic Ocean pre-approved for wind energy development by the U.S. Department of the Interior — would be the largest offshore installation in the world if it reaches that size, Bloomberg reports.
  • DONG’s initial 30 to 35 turbines would be over twice as far off Martha’s Vineyard as the ill-fated Cape Wind project. Because it would be self-financed, the Boston Globe reports it may not suffer the fate of Cape Wind, which was stopped when it lost its contracts with Eversource Energy and National Grid because final financing did not come through in time.

Dive Insight:

Dong's proposed Bay State Wind project, if it grows to its planned 1,000 MW, would be larger than any offshore wind facility currently in operation. It is not, however, the largest offshore wind farm in the proposal or development stage. Sweden, South Korea and the United Kingdom all have larger projects planned.

Deepwater Wind has proposed a 1,200 MW project for a pre-approved site adjacent to Dong's proposed location, and OffshoreMW, a company backed by the Blacksone Group, holds a nearby lease as well. The sites were called “far more superior” for offshore wind development than the Cape Wind project by Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound President Audra Parker, Cape Wind’s most vocal opponent.

Deepwater Wind’s 30 MW, five turbine installation off Rhode Island’s Block Island will be the first operational U.S. offshore wind project. It began construction this past summer and is expected online by 2017. Its power purchase agreement provides its output to National Grid at $0.244/kWh.

Dong Energy developed the world’s first offshore wind, has annual revenues of $11 billion, and invested $1.2 billion in offshore wind projects in 2014. In Europe, it has built almost a third of the world’s offshore wind energy capacity, including 14 operating offshore wind projects, four under construction, and 12 in development stages.

The Department of Energy’s Wind Vision report forecasts that offshore wind will achieve cost reductions of 22% by 2020, 43% by 2030, and 51% by 2050. U.S. ocean wind resources can meet 2% of U.S. electricity demand in 2030 and 7% in 2050, according to the report.

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