The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Delaware's Plan to Shepherd US Offshore Wind: Build Bridges

Offshore wind in the U.S. continues to find its sea legs: Cape Wind is tying off final funding, in a race with Deepwater to be the first to put steel in the water, while a number of pilot projects now await the Department of Energy's down-select to see who continues to get funding to progress their next phases. In the middle, where it sees a need to bring everyone's efforts, is a new group out of the U. of Delaware.

The Special Initiative on Offshore Wind, part of the university's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, is headed up by Stephanie McClellan, formerly with the Atlantic Wind Connection which was proposed to be the major transmission highway for offshore wind in the mid-Atlantic but has since refocused on piping cheap energy in parts of New Jersey. The group's roots in offshore wind go back to 2010 with the installation of a 2-MW Gamesa turbine for coastal wind research. Already it claims to be "playing a key role in major projects to harness the vast East Coast and Great Lakes wind resources."

UD's goal is to provide independent leadership for offshore wind development to all sides, essentially "a bridge between industry, politicians, and NGOs," pulling from experts, industry, and academia, nationally and internationally, to understand the newest technologies, financing, and opportunities for partnerships, she said. Those efforts won't overlap with what developers do in putting together a project proposal, nor will it facilitate contracts or states' approvals of them -- but it will seek to educate policymakers about "the benefits and urgency" of U.S. offshore wind development, tapping experts both in-house and internationally especially in Europe. "We want to try to catalyze those partnerships," McClellan said, "as we see where those opportunities are." She pointed to the Crown Estate's Round 3 process, which despite some hiccups has pushed the envelope for large-scale development and the infrastructure needed to get there.

Those efforts mean better articulating offshore wind not only analytically but also strategically, she said. When 500-MW of offshore wind come online in New Jersey or Virginia or even the Great Lakes, which individual power plants get curtailed/turned off and how does that get managed, and how does that translate into actual savings? What's the broader implication of laws passed in one state that offer more encouragement for offshore wind development, vs. a state where planning boards do heavier scrutiny of proposals? Other examples include price suppression of offshore wind, and the impact of offshore wind on natural gas usage during cold winters.

The timing of this offshore wind initiative is no coincidence. Right now the DoE is mulling all six of the offshore wind pilot projects that remain under its initial funding, with a decision expected around mid-May to cull those six down to three for additional funding -- which for most if not all of them will be critical to their future. As a more neutral party, UD wants to promote U.S. offshore wind holistically, and part of that could mean elevating the discussion to a more regional thinking. "That's long been discussed" as a way to determine best practices and deal with issues that are being grappled with at the state levels where policies often differ, but states haven't been addressing them collectively, McClelland explained. Understanding the key drivers for regional collaboration is "not an easy task," but it will help broaden the market for offshore wind, she said, by enabling "larger project[s] that can drive bigger benefits."

Lead image: Path to the beach in Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware, via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

Renewable energy jobs

Global Renewable Energy Employment Surges 18 Percent to 7.7 Million

Andrew Burger, Correspondent Ongoing growth in renewable energy investment and deployment is creating jobs worldwide — and lots of them. This job growth is helping governments address a fundamental economic problem plaguing developed and developing cou...
GE Digital Wind Farm

GE Introduces Digital Wind Farm that Could Boost Production 20 Percent, Re-ignites Alstom Buyout Talk

Meg Cichon, Associate Editor General Electric (GE) is pushing its wind farms to join the big data revolution with its new Digital Wind Farm, announced this week at Windpower 2015 in Orlando, Fla. amidst talk that its $15 billion offer to buy Alstom’s p...
Wind turbine

Bigger Wind Turbine Towers = Bigger US Development Opportunity

Meg Cichon, Associate Editor Wind energy already accounts for about 5 percent of U.S. electricity generation, which crowned the nation as the global leader in wind production late last year. There is now more than 65 gigawatts (GW) of capacit...
Wind turbines

Wind Energy Is Crucial in the Fight Against Climate Change, Says US Energy Secretary

Meg Cichon, Associate Editor

The opening general session at Windpower 2015 marked the first appearance by an U.S. energy secretary at the show, “which is surprising,” said current energy secretary Ernest Moniz, “but better late than never.”

Jim is Contributing Editor for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

Energy Storage USA 2015

Energy Storage USA is the leading conference in the United States focuse...

Wind Power Central America

Wind power projects are expected to reach 46GW of total installed capaci...

COMPANY BLOGS

SunEdison Expands Residential Market Offerings with New PPA, Sales ...

SunEdison has largely focussed on the commercial and utility-scale solar...

Are You Ready for a Natural Disaster?

Guest post by Jenna Clarke  Living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virg...

Deadline for Inclusion in Solar Power World's Top Solar Contractors...

UPDATE: The official deadline for the Solar Power World T...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS