US offshore wind this week saw the departure of one of the most influential names in its short history with news that Amanda Lefton will step down as director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
Lefton – whose tenure saw approval of America’s first commercial-scale projects – will be replaced in the top job at the US offshore energy regulator by Elizabeth Klein, a senior official from the Department of Interior.
Among the first items on Klein’s agenda will be proposed rule changes aimed at streamlining the costly and cumbersome offshore wind permitting process, a move officials claim will save the industry $1bn over 20 years.
News of the cost-reduction effort was timely, as Recharge reported this week the start of survey work by RWE and National Grid of their lease site in the New York Bight that is the most expensive so far in the industry.
The New York Bight was also in the headlines for more somber reasons – a string of whale deaths that have prompted some environmental and fisheries activist groups to call for a moratorium on offshore wind activity off New York and New Jersey.
The UK’s renewable energy ambitions were centre-stage this week as two key pieces of policy analysis suggested a ramping-up is needed.
First Scotland’s government unveiled its draft national energy strategy, revealing it may raise its offshore wind targets. That announcement came as Recharge published an exclusive opinion piece by Thistle Wind Partners project director Ian Taylor on the importance of building a Scottish supply chain for the sector.
For the UK as a whole, meanwhile, the prescription was nothing short of an “onshore wind and solar revolution” as Conservative MP Chris Skidmore set out his eagerly-anticipated review of net zero strategy.
Another week, another Chinese wind turbine OEM raising the bar for sheer scale of wind turbine ambition. This time it is Mingyang Smart Energy, which unveiled an 18MW monster with 140-metre blades to launch an ‘18.X-28X’ model.
A reminder that Mingyang has already claimed the world’s largest onshore mantle and its offshore machine is the second at that rating launched in a matter of weeks, following compatriot CSSC Haizhuang’s own 18MW titan.