US East Coast Offshore Wind Target Tops 19GW

States along the US East Coast are seeking to procure more than 19,300MW of offshore wind capacity through 2035, according to an analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts.


Legislation, regulation and, now, approved power purchase agreements are encouraging the development of the new capacity, though only 30MW of offshore wind resources are operating in the US. Grid operators may have to modify their procedures to accommodate the additional resources, according to the analysis.

New York has set the pace for offshore wind goals, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo in July signed legislation for the state to get 9,000MW of electricity from offshore wind by 2035. The state also selected two offshore wind projects, one proposed by Norway’s Equinor ASA, called Empire Wind, and another by a joint venture between Denmark’s Ørsted A/S and U.S. utility Eversource Energy, called Sunrise Wind.

Massachusetts officially has an offshore wind target of 1,600MW by 2027, though Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is considering an additional 1,600MW to boost the state’s procurement goals. State distribution utilities have already contracted for a portion of the output of the 800MW Vineyard Wind project, and have issued a request for proposals for up to 800MW more.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order directing the state Board of Public Utilities work on initiatives to support 3,500MW of offshore wind by 2030. In June, state regulators selected the 1,100MW Ocean Wind offshore wind project from Ørsted.

Connecticut recently adjusted its clean energy goals to include a separate 2,000MW carve-out for offshore wind, issuing a request for proposals earlier this month. The state’s utilities have already contracted for a portion of the output of the 704MW Revolution Wind offshore project. Another portion of that facility’s output will go to utilities in Rhode Island, which has a 1,000MW clean energy target set in 2017 by Gov. Gina Raimondo that includes offshore wind.

Other eastern US states are not yet at the solicitation stage. Earlier this year, Maryland passed a mandate for getting 50% of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030, which includes a 1,200MW carve-out for offshore wind. Virginia is targeting 2,000MW of capacity, potentially through the eventual build-out of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project from Ørsted and local utility Virginia Electric and Power Co. doing business as Dominion Energy Virginia, a subsidiary of Dominion Energy Inc.

Maine, which previously had a 5,000MW-by-2030 target, changed its renewable portfolio standard in June. The state now aims to procure 80% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050. While there is not a specific goal for offshore wind, the energy source can still count toward the new RPS, Dan Burgess, director of Gov. Janet Mills’ Energy Office, said.