Hydropower, Offshore, Project Development, Wind Power

U.S. Offshore Wind Market Update

Offshore areas along the U.S. coastline hold great potential for wind energy development as the resources are located near the nation’s highest areas of electricity demand – coastal metropolitan centers, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said last week.

“More than three-fourths of the nation’s electricity demand comes from coastal states and the wind potential off the coasts of the lower 48 states actually exceeds our entire U.S. electricity demand,” Salazar told a summit meeting of 25X’25 America’s Energy Future, a group working to lower America’s carbon emissions.

Citing major findings of a report he commissioned from Interior scientists, Salazar also said the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy resources report found huge information gaps about the location and extent of offshore oil and gas resources.

Salazar said information from the U.S. Geological Survey-Minerals Management Service Report will be a starting point for public comment meetings around the country, starting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and New Orleans Louisiana this month. Click here to download the Executive Summary.

Interior, which managers of one-fifth of the nation’s land mass and 1.7 billion acres of ocean off the U.S. coasts, will have a major role in creating the nation’s clean-energy future, Salazar said. The Department’s Bureau of Land Management has identified about 20.6 million acres of public land with wind energy potential in the 11 western states.

The National Renewable Energy Lab has identified more than 1,000 gigawatts of wind potential off the Atlantic coast, and more than 900 gigawatts of wind potential off the Pacific Coast.  The Lab estimates that the class 5 wind potential off the coasts of the lower 48 states exceeds the entire U.S. electricity demand.

First Offshore Project in New Jersey on the Horizon

Delsea Energy LLC has filed initial permit applications for an offshore wind farm with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The initial permits would authorize installation of a data collection and monitoring station in the Delaware Bay. This station is the first phase of a project that could ultimately involve the installation of a hundred or more wind turbines in the nearshore or shallow waters of the upper Delaware Bay.

The four monitoring stations located on platforms in the bay will confirm the strength of the wind resource in the area. The wind turbines proposed for the Delaware Bay would be located between one and two miles offshore, 2000 feet from the main shipping channel, in an area extending from just north of the Miah Maull Shoal to an area just north of the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse.

Delsea Energy anticipates that the initial studies will take a full year to complete, after which the precise number and placement of turbines can be determined for subsequent NJDEP and USACE permit applications.

“This project can fulfill thirteen percent of Governor Corzine’s visionary energy master plan goals for offshore wind power, and these turbines, located in shallow water, are easier to build than the ocean based deep water turbines. That means that we can deliver jobs and opportunities, along with a substantial amount of clean energy, more quickly to New Jersey residents.,” said John Renz, Delsea Energy’s vice president of Business Development.

78 Members of Massachusetts Legislature Support Cape Wind

Seventy-eight Members of the Massachusetts Legislature, including both Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to urge that he grant Cape Wind a favorable Record of Decision and Lease as soon as possible.

The letter was prepared by Frank Smizik, Chairman of the House Committee on Climate Change and Global Warming and by Marc Pacheco, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and Global Warming.

“As Interior Secretary Ken Salazar begins his public meetings across the country today on offshore renewable energy, we want him to know that Cape Wind has the strong support of the Massachusetts Legislature and the public,” said House Chairman Smizik. “It is time for Cape Wind to be approved so that we can create jobs, increase energy independence, and demonstrate Massachusetts leadership on climate change.”

Cape Wind has been reviewed by 17 federal and state agencies for the past seven years. The final report, issued earlier this year by the Interior Department, said the wind power project would create jobs, reduce air pollution and have minimal impacts.

Last week, RenewableEnergyWorld.com’s Graham Jesmer attended the MIT Offshore Wind Technology Workshop to hear about what the status of the market and the technology is in the U.S. Click here to read a recap of that event, or play the video below to hear from some of the workshop’s speakers.