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US has 25.8GW offshore wind development pipeline: DOE

Most capacity is located in areas along the east coast from Maine to South Carolina with about 8% off California and Hawaii

The US offshore wind energy project development pipeline totaled 25.8GW on 10 June, up 1.4% from a year earlier, with all but 2.37GW of that capacity comprising locations in Atlantic federal waters along the east coast from Maine to South Carolina, according to a new Department of Energy (DOE) report.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy divides the pipeline into four categories: projects permitting with site control and off-take pathway; lease areas with site control; unleased wind areas and unsolicited project applications.

Developers had 2.04GW of capacity with site control and have initiated permitting processes to construct the project and sell its power, according to the 2018 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report.

There was an estimated 19.15GW of capacity where the developer has acquired rights to a lease area. Another estimated 2.25GW of capacity is in areas that have been designed but not auctioned by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The remaining estimated 2.35GW of capacity comprise areas where developers have submitted an unsolicited project proposal to BOEM. These are two projects off California and three facing several islands in Hawaii.

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Bay State Wind’s area off Massachusetts with 2.27GW of potential generation capacity of those 29 quantified by the report followed closely by Atlantic Shores’ area facing faces southern New Jersey with 2.22GW.

The other 13 areas include eight BOEM has proposed for commercial development off New York State and South Carolina plus three in California and two in Hawaii.

Aside from the five turbine, 30MW Block Island pilot – the nation’s only offshore wind farm – there are only two projects in development in state-owned waters: 21MW Icebreaker in Lake Erie off Cleveland, Ohio, and 12MW New England Aqua Ventus off Monhegan Island in Maine.

Project off-take agreements

Few projects have negotiated power off-take agreements thus far given the industry has only begun to emerge in the last several years. Dominion’s two-turbine, 12MW pilot off Virginia has an estimated $780MWh levelized cost of energy and Block Island 244/MWh has a 20-year PPA with National Grid with a 2.5% annual escalator.

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For those at commercial scale, Orsted’s Skipjack and US Wind’s Marwin were awarded offshore wind energy credits by Maryland for their 120MW and 248MW capacities, respectively, at a levelized $131.94/MWh.

Orsted’s Revolution Wind signed 20-year PPA with National Grid for a $98.43/MWh levelised price to deliver 200MW of energy in Rhode Island and $94/MWh for a PPA of the same tenor with Eversource and United Illuminating for 400MW in Connecticut.

Vineyard Wind – owned equally by Iberdrola’s Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners – has signed two 400MW PPAs with utilities in Massachusetts for 20 years. The levelized first year prices were $74/MWh starting in 2002 and $65/MWh for delivery start a year later, according to the report.

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