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Offshore Wind power Coming to the Northeast

Block Island Wind Farm. Photo: Ionna22, Wikimedia Commons

By George Harvey

On May 23, announcements relating to offshore wind power came from three different states in the Northeast. Currently, the United States has a total of 30 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power capacity at one site, the Block Island Wind Farm. Each of the three announcements related to large multiples of that amount.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s administration signed with Vineyard Wind to purchase 800 MW of power. Now that the wind farm has a customer, it can get financing for construction. The wind farm was one of three competing to supply electricity from the waters off Martha’s Vineyard.

On the same day, Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, announced that her state had chosen Deepwater Wind to develop a 400 MW wind farm in federal waters off her state. Deepwater Wind is the company that developed the Block Island Wind Farm.

Both Rhode Island and Massachusetts plan to see other wind farms develop in their waters. Their coal-burning and nuclear plants are closing and developing power plants that burn natural gas seems increasingly unlikely.

The news from New Jersey is that Governor Phil Murray signed a number of pieces of legislation relating to energy. One of them commits the state to developing 3,500 MW of offshore wind power. According to the American Wind Energy Association, this is the greatest commitment to offshore wind power by any state.

The same law that commits New Jersey to 3,500 MW of offshore wind power provides for its first commitment to energy storage. With enactment of the new law, the state is on a course to have 2,000 MW of battery storage installed by 2030.

Another bill Governor Murray signed is noteworthy. It provides a $300 million per year in support of the Hope Creek and Salem nuclear power plants. They are unable to compete with newer, more competitive energy sources, but they supply 36% of New Jersey’s electricity.

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