U.S. Finally Embraces Offshore Wind
It has taken decades for the U.S. government to grasps the reality of renewable energies such as offshore wind. The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $600 million to New York, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts for offshore wind projects. And, construction began on Rhode Island’s Block Island Farm, the first in the U.S., in July.
The Obama Administration recently voiced the need for the U.S to produce 22,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, which will provide power to about four and a half million households.
But, there has been a concerted effort to ensure that offshore wind production is implemented friendlier to the environment and with wildlife considerations.
The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently launched its Real-Time Opportunity for Development for Environmental Observations (RODEO) to study the impacts of offshore windfarm construction on the environment.
RODEO will study and analyze how windfarm development affects air quality, sound pollution and examine seafloor disturbances due to anchor chains. The project is expected to be conducted over the next five years.
The Rhode Island Block Island farm, which will power 17,000 households, will provide the first opportunity to gather data from actual site and allow the agency to establish mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate impacts.
The agency will study disturbances on the seabed due to anchors and will use DP vessels.
Lowe costs is a huge objective for the federal government and it is planning to work with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) to reduce development costs by establishing a regional supply chain.
CESA will coordinated the multi-state program and plans to gather input from stakeholders about development methods to improve transmission lines and expedite the permit process.
BOEM also wants to establish a multilateral group to collect and share expertise on offshore wind technology and regulation from industry leaders in the U.K., Germany and Denmark to improve production methods.