August 6, 2020

Edison Energy Supports Offshore Wind Development

By Grace Morrissey, Senior Analyst, Renewables Advisory

As an agency in the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for overseeing the country’s offshore resources. Offshore wind research, development, and implementation is not a new practice; this technology is established around the globe and is now priced competitively with fossil fuel resources in Europe. Offshore development is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. market, particularly as states such as New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland consider and solicit offshore wind assets to their existing portfolios. Totaling up to 800 megawatts off the Massachusetts coast, Vineyard Wind I would be the second utility-scale offshore wind project in the US and the first of its size. Offshore studies and design planning for this project have been underway since 2011. As with most offshore wind asset developments, Vineyard Wind I is subject to permitting, review, and approvals by nearly thirty separate agencies at the federal, state, tribal, regional, and local levels.

Recognizing that renewables – both on and offshore – are foundationally critical to combatting climate change and creating a reliable, evergreen energy infrastructure, Edison Energy supports offshore wind development.

Corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) with offshore assets have been cropping up more frequently across Europe and beyond. Just last month, semiconductor manufacturer TSMC announced a 20-year PPA for 920 megawatts of offshore wind and late last year Covestro signed a 100 megawatt 10-year PPA in the German North Sea. While this is an up-and-coming industry for the U.S., offshore wind presents an innovative and lasting opportunity to stimulate coastal regions and positively impact the economy. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that the offshore wind industry will invest around $57 billion in the U.S. by 2030 if states continue to pursue procurement goals; this results in over 80,000 new jobs with an annual economic output of $25 billion by 2030.

Edison’s Renewables Advisory Team guides clients through sustainability strategy development, competitive solicitation, commercial negotiation, and contract execution with renewable assets to meet their sustainability goals and suit their financial risk profiles. While offshore wind may not be cost competitive in the U.S. yet, we continue to track the development of this aspect of the wind power industry as it evolves and potentially offers viable offtake options for large energy users in the future.

In 2020, BOEM has completed a Supplement to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and issued a Notice of Availability regarding Vineyard Wind I, though the outcome of this process will impact future offshore development. BOEM anticipates issuing the Final Environmental Impact Statement and the Record of Decision before year end. View Edison’s letter of support, as well as all public comment submissions.

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