News roundup: State of play for U.S. offshore wind

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The race for offshore wind leadership is heating up, and around the country a flurry of recent announcements from states and offshore developers are shaping the future of the industry. As the offshore wind community convenes for AWEA’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference, it’s a good time to take stock of where things stand.   

Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest highlights from the past few weeks.  

State of the U.S. offshore wind industry 

Currently, the only offshore wind project operating in the U.S. is a five-turbine, 30 megawatt (MW) installation off the coast of Rhode Island. But this project won’t be alone for long.   

According to the Department of Energy, as of June 2018, the U.S. offshore wind project development pipeline now exceeds 25 gigawatts (GW) of planned capacity.  

That means the offshore wind industry is poised to grow substantially over the coming years. States are making firm commitments to renewable energy, forming favorable policy landscapes, and advocating strongly for the development of offshore wind.  


At the close of Massachusetts’s 2017-2018 legislative session, the state passed Bill H.4857, An Act to Advance Clean Energy. The bill, signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on August 9th, included a higher renewable portfolio standard (RPS), increased energy storage and energy efficiency targets, and a goal to procure 3,200 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.  

This increased commitment to offshore wind comes as Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners develop Vineyard Wind, an 800 MW project 15 miles off the south coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Wind has secured record-low prices. The first 400 megawatts installed would start at 7.4 cents per kilowatt hour, and the second 400 megawatts would start at 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour. The average price over the 20-year contract is set to be 8.4 cents per megawatt. These prices sit well below expectations and are the lowest yet for offshore wind in the U.S. The project is projected to save Massachusetts customers $1.4 billion over its 20-year lifespan. Construction is set to begin in 2019, with the project producing electricity by 2021.  

In the race for Governor, both incumbent Charlie Baker and challenger Jay Gonzalez have signed a pledge saying that, if elected, they will continue procuring offshore wind energy in the region.  

Rhode Island  

Rhode Island’s offshore wind development won’t stop at the Block Island Wind Farm. In May, the state selected 400 MW from Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind project through a competitive process in collaboration with Massachusetts.  

The wind farm will be located 15 miles off Rhode Island’s coast roughly halfway between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.  

“We will be making very significant investments in Rhode Island port infrastructure,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said. “I think they will be historic-level investments that will help position Rhode Island in this growing industry. We will make Rhode Island a major center of construction and operations activity. There are many hundreds of jobs associated with this.” 


This June, Governor Malloy and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced that Connecticut selected 200 MW of offshore wind as part of a recent Clean Energy Request for Proposals that DEEP issued in January. The offshore wind project will also be a part of Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind project, selected by Rhode Island in May.  

Construction on Revolution Wind could begin as soon as 2020, with the project in operation in 2023.  

New York  

Governor Andrew Cuomo has set a goal of generating 50 percent of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, including 2,400 MW of offshore wind capacity.  

While the state plans to open a solicitation for the first 800 MW this fall, the Long Island Power Authority has already approved a power purchase agreement to buy 90 MW of electricity from the South Fork Wind Farm, a 15-turbine installation set to begin construction by 2020.  

New Jersey  

In the nine months since taking office, Governor Phil Murphy has made developing offshore wind one of his highest priorities. He aims to have 3,500 MW of wind capacity by 2030 – enough to power more than a million homes.  

Recently, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved the country’s largest offshore wind solicitation to date – 1,100 MW of new offshore wind capacity. The board also opened the state to two more solicitations within the next four years.  

In September, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) issued a Request for Ideas (RFI) for offshore wind port infrastructure. Stakeholders such as offshore wind developers, suppliers, port operators and other agencies are encouraged to respond.  

“Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy includes investment in clean energy infrastructure to support job creation in growth industries like wind energy,” EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “New Jersey is uniquely situated to assume a leadership position in the offshore wind industry, which presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for new, good-paying jobs in the state.”  

Read more about NJ’s offshore wind development here.  


Farther south, Virginia is emerging as a strong leader in offshore wind development. Last spring, Virginia passed Senate Bill 966, an omnibus energy bill which set a target for the state to develop 5.5 GW of renewable energy by 2024, including at least 2 GW of offshore wind capacity.  

Dominion Energy and the Danish firm Orsted plan to install two 6 MW wind turbines 27 miles off the coast as a pilot project. It will serve as a demonstration for stakeholders like the military, commercial and recreational groups, and government agencies.  

In September, Governor Northam stated that Virginia “has a clear opportunity to act as a change agent in driving the development of U.S. offshore wind.” 


The offshore wind boom isn’t limited to the East Coast. Icebreaker Wind in Lake Erie off the coast of Cleveland would be the first U.S. offshore wind project built in freshwater. The development includes six turbines, each 3.5 MW, located seven miles offshore. Icebreaker Wind would produce enough energy to power 7,000 Ohio homes.  

The Great Lakes have a number of advantages for offshore wind development. Shallow waters, small waves, less extreme weather and nearby electric grids make for lower construction costs. If Icebreaker succeeds, proponents say it could be just the beginning for offshore wind in the region.  

This summer, both the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Power Siting Board gave the project preliminary approval, with final approval expected this fall.  

On October 2nd, the Department of Energy released a final environmental assessment of the project which included what the agency calls a FONSI, or a finding of no significant impact. Lorry Wagner, the president of the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo.), called this “the most significant single approval Icebreaker Wind has received to date. We are eager now to earn state approval and move forward.”  

If all goes as planned, the turbines could be operating in the next three years.  


In August, the California legislature passed Senate Bill 100, which calls for the state to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2045. Currently, California is at 30 percent renewable energy, so offshore wind could offer a much-needed boost to the state’s renewable energy capacity.  

On September 13th, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) submitted a lease application to the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to move forward on California’s first offshore wind energy project.  

The 100-150 MW project would consist of 10-15 floating turbines 20 miles off the coast of Eureka and could come online as soon as 2024.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), with support from GWNET and REN21, is undertaking a global Gender and Renewable Energy survey.

The objective of the survey is to gather quantitative and qualitative insights on the current status of women’s participation in the renewable energy sector, existing challenges and potential solutions to improve gender diversity. The findings from the survey will contribute to addressing the data and knowledge gap on gender in renewable energy, and inform policy making to ensure that the energy transition is inclusive and benefits from a wider pool of talent.

The survey should not take longer than 10 minutes to fill out.

About the survey

The survey differentiates between those working in the access and non-access (modern) contexts. For each, you can take the survey as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The questions for each category are different:

  • From individuals working in the sector, we hope to gather insights on the challenges and barriers faced in attracting and retaining women in the workforce, as well as potential solutions. On completing the survey, we encourage you to share the survey with your colleagues to ensure as large a sample of respondents as possible, as well as the Human Resources (HR) department in your organization (see below).
  • From organisations in the sector, we’d like to understand the gender distribution in your workforce and the policies and measures you are implementing towards greater gender diversity. Answering the questions will require knowledge of relevant staff statistics and. Therefore, representatives from the HR division may be best equipped in filling this part of the survey.

The survey can be accessed using the link: 

Please note that the information provided through the survey will be processed and aggregated with information provided by other respondents and serve as an important input for the forthcoming Women in Renewable Energy report to be published by IRENA. Accordingly, personal data and individually identifiable information will not be publicly disclosed.

Should you face any technical difficulties in filling out the survey or have any questions or clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Celia García-Baños ([email protected]).

We thank you for your time in advance for filling out the survey!

Visit website

Essen, 5 October 2018 – innogy SE, Shell and Stiesdal Offshore Technologies A/S (SOT) have signed an investment and cooperation agreement today committing the partners to build a demonstration project using SOT’s ‘TetraSpar’ floating foundation concept. Its modular layout consists of a tubular steel main structure with a suspended keel. It is expected to offer important competitive advantages over existing floating wind concepts, with the potential for leaner manufacturing, assembly and installation processes with lower material costs. The project has a budget of approximately €18 million.

Hans Bünting, COO Renewables of innogy SE, said: “These are exciting times. The floating offshore wind market is evolving but until now, floating foundations have been stubbornly expensive. This demonstration project will give us a better understanding of how the cost can be driven down. The industrialised approach of the TetraSpar design, combined with innogy’s experience in delivering offshore wind projects, will enable large-scale, cost-effective deployment of floating wind projects around the world.”

For full press release.

  • Asia, North America seen leading push for widespread adoption of Offshore Wind outside of Europe
  • Wind energy pioneer Henrik Stiesdal to support initiative to accelerate Offshore Wind in global markets

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has created a new Offshore Wind Taskforce to accelerate the development of offshore wind technology in non-European markets such as Asia and North America.

The Taskforce will be chaired by Alastair Dutton, who played a key role in the creation of the UK’s successful offshore wind industry with roles at The Crown Estate and in government at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The TaskfForce will be made up of leading developers, investors and manufacturers in the sector, as well as technical experts and inter-governmental organisations. It will be supported by Henrik Stiesdal, widely known as the “father” of the modern wind industry and the creator of the first large scale offshore wind project, who will act as GWEC’s Global Offshore Wind Ambassador.

“Offshore wind has huge potential in many regions, as the world looks for competitive, zero carbon energy sources that can be deployed at scale and in relatively fast time frames,” says Stiesdal. “However, the industry needs to find the most appropriate technologies for deploying offshore wind in different conditions – for example floating offshore wind in regions with deep water levels, and creating efficient supply chains across the globe,” he adds.

GWEC CEO Ben Backwell says: “Offshore wind has already become a mainstream power source in Europe, accounting for the lion’s share of new power capacity in the UK and a significant share in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.” He adds: “Now more and more countries are starting to see the advantage of offshore wind, and the technology is in a position to become truly global.”

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), the global offshore wind market is set to grow at a 16pc annual compound rate from 2017 to 2030, reaching a cumulative capacity of 115 GW compared to 17.6GW today.  China is set to overtake the current leader the UK and lead installations by 2022, while Taiwan and the US will also reach 1GW per year of annual installations in the next decade.

The Offshore Wind Taskforce initiative is being supported by some of the leading companies in the sector, including Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Iberdrola, Østed and MHI-Vestas.

The Taskforce aims to carry out a series of activities, including:

  • Advising governments on regulatory frameworks and tendering systems for offshore wind, including creating an Offshore Wind Policy Toolkit
  • Measuring and highlighting the economic and social benefits of offshore wind deployment and the creation of local supply chains
  • Fostering technology innovation and the testing of new turbines, installation techniques and O&M strategies, including promoting the benefits of digitalisation
  • Spreading best practices and the transfer of knowledge from Europe and other established markets to new and developing markets
  • Creating appropriate forums to promote the growth of the global offshore industry, including seminars, technical workshops, conferences and exhibitions.


About GWEC

GWEC is a member-based organization that represents the entire wind energy sector. The members of GWEC represent over 1,500 companies, organizations and institutions in more than 90 countries, including manufacturers, developers, component suppliers, research institutes, national wind and renewables associations, electricity providers, finance and insurance companies.


For more information on the Offshore Wind Taskforce contact:

Lauha Fried

Communications Director, GWEC

Tel. +32 477 364251

[email protected]