A photo of the Block Island Wind Farm's turbine with a US flag visible on the right

New US Offshore Wind Guidance Document Approved, Said to Speed Up Development

The US offshore wind sector has gotten its new official guidance that can be used in the regulatory approval process. The document contains best practices and is said to help accelerate development of the offshore wind industry, shorten regulatory timelines, and increase worker safety.

Illustration; Block Island Wind Farm; Photo source: CRMC (archive)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Standards Review approved American Clean Power Association (ACP) Offshore Compliance Recommended Practices: 2022 Edition (OCRP-1-2022) earlier this summer, following five-year work of an industry-based standards initiative.

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“This could become one of the primary guidance documents for the development of offshore wind energy on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and could lead to shorter regulatory timelines and increased worker safety”, said Walt Musial, offshore wind research lead at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the chair of the ACP Offshore Wind Subcommittee under which the initiative was formed.

OCRP-1-2022 covers all stages of offshore wind farm development, including design, manufacturing and fabrication, transportation and installation, operations and in-service inspections, and life-cycle planning.

“These recommended practices cover a broader scope than anything previously available to the offshore wind energy industry”, Musial said. “Although OCRP-1-2022 leans heavily on the International Electrotechnical Commission’s standards, it covers the entire life cycle of the project, from design of the turbine and substructure to end-of-life decommissioning. Regulators hold responsibility for all stages of development—from cradle to grave—and we’ve now provided them more comprehensive guidance in one document”. 

The new guidance adheres to a preestablished ANSI/ACP consensus standards development process, which includes balanced participation by key stakeholders, opportunity for public review and commentary, resolution for filed comments, and acceptance through voting by the governing ACP Technical Wind Standards Committee and the ANSI Board of Standards Review.

Because of that, OCRP-1-2022 can be officially recognised by regulators and referenced within the US regulatory approval process, NREL said in a press release on 12 October.

“To meet the Biden administration’s goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, the industry is challenged with designing, manufacturing, and installing 2,100 turbines, foundations, and transition pieces in less than eight years,” said Liz Burdock, Business Network for Offshore Wind president and CEO.

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“OCRP-1-2022 is an essential component to meeting the goal, providing common guidance, removing guesswork, and enabling required federal permitting design documents to be more quickly developed. This should help reduce overall permitting timeframes and put turbines in the water faster to help avert the climate crisis”, Burdock said.

OCRP-1-2022 is the first of five documents to be published and was written by a consensus-based group of more than 100 offshore wind energy industry members, co-chaired by Rain Byars, the technical and delivery director for Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind (a partnership between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF Renewables North America) and Graham Cranston, a DNV project manager and principal structural engineer.

The US Offshore Wind Standards Initiative is working on four additional guidance documents that will address specific topics, including floating wind, metocean data requirements, geotechnical and geophysical requirements for offshore wind energy technologies, and minimum requirements for submarine cables. 

The initiative, formed five years ago, is led by NREL together with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the US Department of Energy, the Business Network for Offshore Wind, ACP, and ANSI.

The ACP Offshore Wind Subcommittee, under which the initiative was established, comprises more than 300 members from various offshore wind industry sectors.

The standards initiative was formed back in 2017, after American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Standards Committee (later renamed the ACP Wind Technical Standards Committee) voted to approve its formation to address the deficiencies of the previous guidance document, OCRP-2012.

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