- Principal Power’s WindFloat Pacific project, a 30 MW floating wind turbine pilot project planned off Oregon’s coast, could lose its federal funding because Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, the state’s two investor-owned utilities, have rejected its above-market power price.
- The undisclosed requested price for the electricity from the Department of Energy-backed project could be as high as $0.16-$0.35 per kWh, Breaking Energy reports. The Oregon utilities wrote a letter to lawmakers that said the proposed rates are 3 to 4 times the price of onshore wind, which comes in at less than 5 cents per kWh.
- The floating turbine technology is considered essential to capture Pacific Coast ocean winds because the continental shelf drops off too steeply there to make seabed-fixed ocean wind turbines practical.
Principal Power executives would not divulge the precise asking price for power from the WindFloat Pacific project, but told Breaking Energy that the rates were comparable to the firm's other demonstration projects in the state. Some of those solar projects, the website points out, were awarded in utility solicitations earlier this year through the state’s solar Volumetric Incentive Rate (VIR) Pilot Program, and ranged from 16-36 cents per kWh.
WindFloat developer Deepwater Wind is also building Rhode Island’s 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, the first U.S. offshore project. Its six seabed-fixed turbines, in shallower Atlantic coast waters, are expected to cost over $300 million. Their electricity will be sold to National Grid at $0.244 per kWh, not much above Rhode Island’s $0.20 per kWh average retail electricity price.
DOE last year awarded WindFloat, Fishermen’s Energy, and Dominion Virginia Power each a grant that could be as high as $47 million apiece if the projects are online by 2017. So far, none is on track to meet the July 31, 2015, deadline for having a power purchase agreement because of the high price of their generation.
Ernst and Young’s March 2015 Offshore Wind in Europe predicted offshore wind would “become highly competitive by 2023 when compared to other sources of energy” and its LCOE will be as low as €90 per MWh ($0.09 per kWh) by 2030 if the project pipeline is big enough to create economies of scale.