BizMDOSW: State Teamwork Road for Successful US Offshore Wind

U.S. coastal states must compete, but also cooperate, to develop an offshore wind industry that benefits everyone, according to a new report by the Business Network for Offshore Wind.

The Leadership 100 report writes that the priority areas include the development of an industry road map, recommendations on advancing grid and transmission projects, and launching of a public engagement campaign.

States must collaborate on the several fronts in order to develop a winning industry, the Network said, emphasizing that the most important problems are associated with grids and transmission lines.

The private sector should enter into dialogue with states to discuss the grid/transmission strategy and once problems are resolved overall costs can be reduced for ratepayers, the report found.

Other challenges include uncertainty within the supply chain, cost controls for ratepayers, and the limitation of U.S. resources, such as ports.

“If the problem is not addressed soon, the offshore wind market could be held back, and policymakers’ clean energy targets may slip,” said Ross Tyler, the Network’s Executive Vice President.

“What’s necessary is communicating the risks of not acting on this issue and determining the benefits for congestion relief & ancillary services to incentivize state officials to build the infrastructure that allows gigawatts to be placed on the grid.”

Tyler believes that a roadmap would support regional port strategies and technical explanations for special solutions, cooperation on workforce issues and insights into local supply chain development.

Additionally, an updated Department of Energy (DOE) study is needed for the Northeast, where most of the offshore wind is being developed to inform the conversations with local, state and federal officials.

Besides Massachusetts’ goal of developing 1.6GW of offshore wind, New York’s plan to increase its commitment of 2.4GW to 9GW accelerates the need to quickly address electricity delivery and grid integration as the Northeast grid can currently accept 4GW of power, the report concluded.

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