At the recent U.S. Offshore Wind Conference in Boston, a panel of representatives from five states in the northeastern United States gave a rundown on their respective efforts to promote offshore wind.  The following summarizes their comments.

Senator Paul Formica, Connecticut Senate

“Connecticut is perfectly positioned in a number of ways for offshore wind in that we have some great ports – Bridgeport and the city of New London – both deepwater and unobstructed for staging.  We have incredible investments coming into New London to move that forward.  We have a great port authority which is coordinating efforts not only through Connecticut but throughout the industry.  We also some years ago developed an opportunity to increase the freight-line capability that connects the port of New London; so we’re positioned to develop a strong supply chain along the coast with freight.  But we’re also but adjacent to a river so there are lots of opportunities to get into the offshore wind industry, both out at sea and also with the supply chain.  So we’re trying to touch all the bases so that we can develop offshore wind in Connecticut and support the greater region, which we think is important.” 

Doreen Harris, Director, Large-Scale Renewables, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

“New York has been hard at work advancing offshore wind as part of a broader portfolio of renewables.  Gov. Cuomo has advanced a Green New Deal proposal which includes a 100% carbon-free electricity sector by 2040 and a 70% renewable goal by 2030.  Offshore wind is a critical component of reaching those ambitious goals.  When we think of NY, like everything else, we think big about offshore wind.  So NY has advanced a 9GW by 2035 goal, which is by far the largest in the nation.  NY is the world’s 12th largest economy.  Offshore is an important growth driver of economic development and clean energy to achieve our goals.  To that end, we’ve been actively advancing on multiple paths to insure offshore wind is developed in a manner that is consistent with our interests and in a cost-effective manner.  Our inaugural solicitation for offshore wind was issued in November and soon we’ll be announcing our results of that solicitation.  And we’ll be moving forward with the rhythm that we know is critical for stakeholders to make investments in the state and in our view, to create the pre-conditions for those investments.  This is really just the beginning.  It’s been years in the making, but we believe our work to advance offshore wind comprehensively is one other states can pay attention to and is indicative of the regional work we can do together to move this industry forward here in the US.”

Judith Judson, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

“As you’re all aware, Massachusetts put out our first RFP about 2 years ago which resulted in the Vineyard Wind 800MW project.  That project is now moving forward and we are very excited and hopeful about that project coming online as scheduled and with that we now have our second solicitation out that released a few weeks ago that’s due in the middle of August.  We’re looking forward to seeing what we get in that solicitation.  We’ve also come out with our offshore wind study.  We were tasked to do that through legislation looking at the cost, benefit and necessity of doing an additional 1,600MW of offshore wind, bringing the total to 3,200MW.  That’s approximately 30% of our state’s electricity load.  We recommended moving forward with doing an additional 1,600MW, which we have authorized, and to do that on a defined schedule and to do that in a way to take advantage of likely technology cost declines.  This also aligns well with our state obligations for our renewable portfolio standard.  We’ve scheduled 2022 and 2024 for the next solicitations.  This also gives us the opportunity to work with our fellow states.  We think there is a huge regional opportunity for offshore wind.” 

Sara Bluhm Gibson, Director, Office of Clean Energy, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities

“We started our offshore wind journey nearly a decade ago with the passage of our legislation in 2010.  It stalled for a little bit but in the past year we’ve done more than we had in the 10 prior years.  We’re excited in New Jersey to have the largest single-state solicitation currently out there.  We are fully anticipating being able to make an announcement on that in a couple of weeks.  New Jersey is also in the process of conducting our offshore wind strategic plan in which we are engaging out stakeholders and looking at how we should be considering offshore wind in terms of our economic development, our fishing industry and a multitude of other things and really being able to lay out that plan.  [New Jersey] Governor [Phil] Murphy has shown a strong commitment to offshore wind as well as clean energy and like the other states we also have goals set for 100% clean energy and increasing our RPS.  Gov. Murphy has committed us to 3,500MW within the next few years and he has suggested 2020 and 2022 for our next solicitations.  The Board has yet to ratify those recommendations, but we will be acting on that timetable.”

Sam Beirne, Wind & Energy Storage Program Manager, Maryland Energy Administration

“In the State of Maryland in late May, SP560, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, became law.  That legislation increases Maryland’s renewable energy portfolio standard from 25% by 2020 to 50% by 2030.  The offshore wind carve out was increased almost four-fold to 10% of our total in-state electricity sales.  Using the two projects that we announced several years ago as a baseline, that increases our offshore wind commitment to about 2GW.”