A wind turbine Dominion Energy’s two turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project. The wind farm, currently in its testing phase, is anticipated to be one of the first fully-permitted, operational wind project in U.S. federal waters, delivering 12-megawatt’s of clean energy to customers in Virginia. Photo: Dominion Energy

Head Of Vineyard Wind Project Compares US Cabotage Laws To ‘Soviet Central Planning’

John Konrad
Total Views: 1402
September 15, 2021

Today via twitter, President Biden called a ‘Red Alert’ for developing wind energy projects. But as of today, only seven wind turbines have been installed in US waters. A Spanish-owned company working on the first major offshore wind project for America says the problem is cabotage and the fledgling US offshore wind industry faces “death in the water” if authorities crackdown on foreign materials and equipment, reports the Financial Times.

Mr. White, who heads offshore wind for Avangrid, a subsidiary of the Spanish company Iberdrola, said strict American regulations to use local equipment and material could jeopardize the development of new offshore wind farms using equipment that for now is made in Europe.

Avangrid, is an electricity provider that serves about 3.1 million customers throughout the state of New York and New England in the United States. Avangrid, along with its partner Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, are working to develop the Vineyard Wind project near Massachusetts. 

Last week, Democrats unveiled new green tax credits in a $3.5 trillion infrastructure package they hope will spur a boom in renewable energy, such as offshore wind. However, the legislation links some tax credits to job creation and the use of US steel, provisions that operators warn could increase construction costs.

White did not mention the controversial Jones Act specifically but did say that manufacturing facilities are being built in the US northeast and the nation’s first offshore wind turbine installation ship, Charybdis, began at the Keppel AMFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, last year… but these will arrive too late for Vineyard Wind. That project’s turbines will be built in France by GE.

According to the most recent US Department of Energy wind energy report, Atlantic coast projects are expected “to rely heavily on international supply chains for major components, installation vessels and engineering design work”. 

According to Avangrid, more time is needed to build factories to make equipment locally. “We hear the Congress and the states loud and clear. But give us a window so that we can show you that we are driving this localization to the US,” he told the Finacial Times. “Soviet central planning, I think, has never proved to work.”

Biden Administration currently has a 30-gigawatt-by-2030 national offshore wind energy goal and states continue to adopt their own offshore wind procurement mandates. The federal target to install 30 GW of capacity by 2030 is the first U.S. national offshore wind energy goal. To make progress toward this goal, BOEM aims to evaluate at least 16 new construction plans by 2025. Beyond the national level goal, US states are aiming to build at least 39,298 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2040. 

Globally offshore wind capacity grew to 32,906 MW from 200 operating projects at the end of 2020.

Locations of U.S. offshore wind pipeline activity and Call Areas as of May 31, 2021. Map created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory  (NREL) and released by USDOE.

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