JUL 05, 2017 05:43 PM PDT

All bets are on for Massachusetts' first offshore wind farm

Offshore wind is a mostly untapped industry in the United States, with only one offshore wind farm currently operating off of Block Island in Rhode Island. But New England is looking to change that within the next several years, continuing the trend with an offshore farm off of Massachusetts’ island, Martha’s Vineyard. So far three companies, Deepwater, DONG Energy and Vineyard Wind, have acquired federal lease auctions; bids and proposals will be submitted within this year, with a final decision regarding which company will be awarded the contract coming at the beginning of next summer.

These bids come as a directive from state legislature last year which stated that Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil must sign contracts with wind renewable energy companies in order to acquire 1,600 MW of offshore wind by 2027. The first project must incorporate at least 400 MW and the bids for this project had to be solicited by the end of June. Deepwater Wind is the company that is responsible for Block Island’s offshore farm and is New England-based while Dong Energy and Vineyard Wind are both based out of Denmark.

Although the proposals were released last week, the whole process is a lengthy one. “[The request for proposals] may change and be refined as it goes through a review…then it will be finalized and published on June 30,” said Bill White, senior director of offshore wind development for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

The MassCEC and AWS Truewind gathered data of wind speeds for the predicted region where the wind farm will be constructed, calling it the Massachusetts wind energy area (MAWEA). According to White, the average wind speed there is 10.2 meters per second (22.8 miles per hour), which is among the highest on the East Coast.

Block Island's wind farm is already operating. Photo: Clean Technica

Nevertheless, compared to Europe, the US is behind in the offshore wind industry. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, more than 90% of offshore wind capacity is constructed in waters off the coast of eleven different European countries. The wind capacity from these farms, and the remaining 10%, generated a global capacity of almost 12,000 MW. Following the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this means we are likely to reach up to 47,000 MW by 2020.

Sources: USA News, Renewable Energy World, Utility DIVE

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 03, 2018
Plants & Animals
DEC 03, 2018
50 More Beached Pilot Whales Perish in New Zealand
New Zealand has become somewhat accustomed to dealing with beached marine mammals, but the sheer number of stranded whales that the regional Department of...
DEC 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
DEC 24, 2018
Decoding the Secrets of Howler Monkey Evolution
There exist a bevy of ways that an animal species can be driven to evolve, but one of the more controversial methods of evolution involves a process known...
FEB 05, 2019
Plants & Animals
FEB 05, 2019
Male Killer Whales Forage More Than Females, but Success Isn't Always Guaranteed
All wild animals must hunt to survive; it’s the natural order of things. But it’s sometimes tricky for scientists to understand the techniques...
FEB 11, 2019
Plants & Animals
FEB 11, 2019
An Attempt to Get Two Critically-Endangered Sumatran Tigers to Mate Went Terribly Wrong
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes the Sumatran tiger as a critically-endangered species on the agency’s Red List,...
FEB 18, 2019
Plants & Animals
FEB 18, 2019
Marine Protected Areas Crucial for Commercially Harvested Animal Populations
Humans commercially harvest many marine animals because a booming market exists above the ocean’s surface. Unfortunately, some these same animals are...
FEB 18, 2019
Plants & Animals
FEB 18, 2019
Conservationists Weigh the Possibility of Reintroducing Lost Eagle Species to Wales
The primary job of a conservationist is to safeguard existing animal species and mitigate the effects of human-related behaviors on their existence. In som...
Loading Comments...