- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) officially designated a 127 square-mile ocean tract off the New York coast 13 miles south of Long Island as a wind energy area, Bloomberg reports, which could produce almost as much energy as a nuclear plant.
- While the 81,000 acre-site is located in an ideal location near load centers in New York and Long Island and has a capacity for more than 900 MW, Bloomberg notes the issue is whether developers can offer electricity at market prices, which has played a role in scuttling United States wind projects in the past.
- The site is one of 10 Atlantic sites identified by BOEM as potential sites for wind development, with the New York location crucial to opening access to developers to some of the nation's most profitable power markets.
While Europe's wind industry has boomed, the US industry has in stark contrast struggled due to high upfront costs and developers offering their energy at a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) at $0.24/kWh or more than double the market rate.
While no U.S. projects have been completed, there are 21 projects representing 15,650 MW of capacity in development, according to a recently-released report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Thirteen of those – about 5,939 MW – are in some degree of advanced development.
Developers with projects totaling 3,305 MW say they will be online by 2020. Department of Energy’s Wind Vision, a long-term look at the U.S. wind industry, forecasts a deployment of 22,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030 and 86,000 MW by 2050. Future deployment will be along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts and in the Great Lakes, according to the DOE forecast.
A recent study from the University of Delaware said a commitment to develop 2,000 MW of offshore wind energy in Massachussetts installed between 2020 and 2030 will lead to costs "far lower than previously contracted prices for offshore wind in the New England region," with initial reductions projected at $0.162/kWh.
Despite the rather arduous process to develop wind energy, the industry is starting to pick up as evidenced by some recent projects.
Deepwater Wind's 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island's coast will be the first operating U.S. offshore wind project. The 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) calls for all output to go to National Grid, one of New England’s biggest electricity suppliers, at $0.244/kWh.
The proposed 468 MW Cape Wind project that was planned for Nantucket Sound, had a PPA with National Grid for 50% of the project’s output and a PPA with Eversource Energy for 27.5% of its electricity. Both were set at $0.187/kWh for the project’s first year output, with annual escalators.