Icebreaker Offshore Wind Project takes next step

By: Elizabeth Barminski

Icebreaker Windpower Inc. is dedicated to bringing offshore wind energy to Lake Erie. Icebreaker Wind is a six turbine 20.7MW demonstration project funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Energy. Icebreaker is currently working on receiving about one dozen permits and approvals from state and federal agencies.  The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) will issue the major state permit.  Pending issuance of its permits, Icebreaker Windpower will begin fabrication, construction, and installation in the Spring of 2019, to be completed by the Fall. The Network fully supports Icebreaker Wind and will be filing as an intervenor in the OSPB process – hoping to help move the US offshore wind industry forward.

Icebreaker Wind will produce approximately 79,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year on average with a capacity factor of 44 percent. The Project will use the innovative suction bucket, also known as a Mono Bucket (MB), as the support structure for the turbines, a technology that promises to reduce both costs and environmental impacts for the offshore wind industry. Icebreaker Wind has achieved several significant benchmarks: the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) $50.7 million award as an Advanced Technology Demonstration Project; the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) Completeness determination to Construct a Wind-Powered Electric Generation Facility; U.S. DOE issuance of its Draft Environmental Assessment finding no significant adverse impacts; receipt of a Submerged Lands Lease, FAA determination of no hazard, International Joint Commission approval, and section 408 permit. Icebreaker has filed its section 404 permit application with the Corps and will soon file its section 401 permit application with the Ohio EPA.

A primary mission of Icebreaker Wind is to provide significant economic benefit to the Great Lakes states by stimulating development of an offshore wind industry in the region. This first project will leverage the region’s strong legacy of heavy manufacturing, fabrication, engineering, and maritime activities by engaging, training, and hiring businesses from all tiers of the supply chain. This process will become the template to develop a domestic offshore wind supply chain in the Great Lakes states. By way of example, the tangible economic benefits to Northeast Ohio include $168 million in Gross Regional Product (GRP), 500 jobs during construction and $188,000 in local property tax/year.

The Icebreaker project will be a milestone for offshore wind in the U.S. – providing an example of an offshore windfarm capable of withstanding periods of cold weather and ice. “Icebreaker will open up a 700 gigawatt offshore wind resource in the Great Lakes and take advantage of the area’s rich manufacturing base.  This industry will add fuel diversity and grid reliability in a region that depends on coal and natural gas for over 80% of its electric supply.  It will also help clean the air in a locale that consistently receives an “F” for air quality,” said Lorry Wagner, President of Icebreaker Windpower Inc.

Interested groups and individuals can also participate in the OPSB process in a number of ways:

  • filing comments or a letter of support with the OPSB;
  • submitting a letter to the editor of the local paper;
  • using social media to support the project;
  • attending and speaking at a public hearing; and,
  • becoming an intervener in the case.

To submit comments in support of Icebreaker Wind with the OPSB by email, you may email:  contactOPSB@puc.state.oh.us with the subject line: case #: 16-1871-EL-BGN Icebreaker Windpower.  To submit comments in support in writing, you may send a letter to:  Ohio Power Siting Board, 180 E. Broad Street, Columbus, OH  43215 and include case #: 16-1871-EL-BGN Icebreaker Windpower in the reference line.

For help with your comments, please visit our website at www.leedco.org and click on Be A Supporter (on the right side of the main page).  To receive notice of public hearing dates, you can be put on LEEDCo’s supporters list by contacting Courtney Lehmann at clehmann@leedco.org.

LEEDCo is dedicated to bringing offshore wind energy to Lake Erie in the near future. The Icebreaker project is moving forward, currently working on receiving approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB). With approval from the OPSB, LEEDCo will begin fabrication, construction, and installation in the Spring of 2018 to be completed by the Fall. The Network encourages you to support the Icebreaker wind project – a positive step for U.S. offshore wind industry.

Interested groups and individuals can participate in the OPSB process in a number of ways:

  • by filing comments or a letter of support with the OPSB;
  • by submitting a letter to the editor of your local paper;
  • by using social media to support the project;
  • by attending and speaking at a public hearing; and,
  • by becoming an intervener in the case. 

To submit comments in support of Icebreaker Wind with the OPSB by email, you may email:  contactOPSB@puc.state.oh.us with the subject line: case #: 16-1871-EL-BGN Icebreaker Windpower.  To submit comments in support in writing, you may send a letter to:  Ohio Power Siting Board, 180 E. Broad Street, Columbus, OH  43215 and include case #: 16-1871-EL-BGN Icebreaker Windpower in the reference line.

For help with your comments, please visit our website at www.leedco.org and click on Be A Supporter (on the right side of the main page).  To receive notice of public hearing dates, you can be put on LEEDCo’s supporters list by contacting Courtney Lehmann at clehmann@leedco.org.

Energy industry players testify during House hearing on grid resilience

By: Taylor DeVille

Energy industry leaders testified before and government officials testified Sept. 14 during a House hearing on electric grid reliability and the Department of Energy’s recent study on the issue.

Almost every major energy technology is represented on the witness list, with appearances scheduled from leaders in the coal, solar, oil, wind, nuclear, hydropower and energy storage sectors.

Throughout the hearing, concerns about grid technology resilience were strengthened against the backdrop of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

“These extreme weather events, these two hurricanes in addition to other events we’ve seen in the last few years, require a modern, dramatic response to what is happening with the cost of the changing climate,” said Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL). “These disasters are very expensive and it’s time to make a dramatic investment in modern grid technology—something that is more resilient, that serves the needs of our citizens in a better way.”

Earlier in the hearing,  North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) President and CEO Gerry Cauley affirmed NERC’s “focus on [grid] resilience as a priority going forward” as a result of weather-related disasters over the past 6 years.

Cauley went on to outline the necessary functions of grid resources, including “inertia, frequency response, voltage control, stability and ramping to meet changes in demand and variability of renewable resources.”

“When these units [conventional base load units] retire, new resources coming on to the system must replace these essential reliability services that are being lost,” he said.

Cauley asserted NERC’s commitment to the recommendations of the DOE study on grid technology that was released last month, namely, “the need to maintain essential reliability services, promote resilience, coordinate gas and electric issues and collaborate with Canada and Mexico on reliability.”

Although renewables were not quite at the forefront of the hearing, representatives did explore the viability of alternative energy sources.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) asked Cauley if it is “possible to meet the same reliable standards if you go to a generation system that is predominantly renewable,” to which Cauley responded that although “there are a lot of challenges,” it is still “technically feasible” with “a lot of coordination.” He added that the technology to ensure renewable resources are reliable exists today.

“I think the technology is there today, it just requires a lot of coordination.”

Later, Castor stated the need to explore options for a secure grid that have not been invested in previously, including “building in renewables [into the grid] over time.”

“I agree [renewables are] not the answer in the short term, but in the long term these distributed grid building in renewable energy is going to help us reduce the cost of the changing climate.” She added that “demand management” needed to be a priority, because “the business models in many states simply don’t match the challenges ahead of us.”

Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Neil Chatterjee, who expressed his “appreciation” for resources like coal, stated that while he believes in states’ rights to determine their own energy resources, “FERC has the authority to weigh in […] when it affects interstate commerce, and potentially does threaten reliability.”

“It will be something we look at closely,” he said.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee planned to hold also a hearing on the electric grid but postponed it in response to Hurricane Irma. The panel has yet to set a new time.

Watch the hearing here.

Site selection and planning: Reducing conflict through spatial planning

By: Stephen Markham

Spatial planning of offshore resources will be essential for the development of the continental shelf on the East Coast of the U.S.

Industries with interests in fishing, shipping, and defense all are vying for a limited amount of space, thus the delineation of boundaries and the permitting processes surrounding them will be crucial to integrating the offshore wind industry to fit in seamlessly with existing oceanic stakeholders. In the U.K., the permitting and marine spatial planning process brings together multiple users to make informed decisions about oceanic territories.

Andrew Thompson, the Delivery Director for Offshore Wind at Atkins Global, opened the workshop by explaining the U.K. permitting process to develop offshore wind in the U.K. A simpler permitting process and long term planning for defined wind turbine sites are critical to the success of wind farms here. Compared to the numerous permits required for the installation of Block Island in the U.S., Scotland required 2 permits for an offshore wind farm. Similar to the U.S., the U.K. auctioned off installation zones, comparable to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) commercial lease sites. As technology evolves, these installation zones are developing at greater distance from shore. Preparation due to marine spatial planning expedites the permitting process and long term planning can provide for information that can be evaluated while making future ocean zoning plans.

Marine spatial planning allows those involved in planning the wind farm to make informed decisions about the ocean region in which they operate. When planning for offshore wind farms, the U.K. hopes to ensure clean, healthy and safe construction projects while protecting the biologically diverse ecosystem of the ocean. The U.K. has defined 11 marine zones within its waters, each with a 20 year long-term plan.  Each of the 11 marine zones plans are reviewed and updated on a 3-year basis.

Sandra Whitehouse of the Ocean Conservancy further supported the need for future planning for the development of Offshore Wind in U.S. waters.

“Having more granularity in each of these areas can inform developers about where they are placing their leases,” she said.

Regional plans such as the Northeast Data portal create a collaborative workspace for data to be utilized for informed decision making in the siting process. Furthermore, failures such as the litigation involved in the 2001 Cape Wind permit application provide areas of learning to speed up the permitting process in the future.

Pragmatic solutions must be considered when siting offshore wind farms as the overlap of interest—such as fishing, recreation, and transportation—can create issues for optimal turbine placement. Communication among stakeholders is essential to successful implementation of marine spatial planning. Whitehouse explained that Rhode Island’s Block Island was the first to go through with the offshore wind farm because the development team efficiently and effectively carried out the spatial area plan and defined the Block Island farm to be an area for renewable energy. This demarcation and planning, along with effective stakeholder engagement, was key to the overall success of the project.

Resourceful spatial planning requires proactive planning, according to Kris Ohleth of Ecology and Environment.   Proactive planning is necessary to minimize delays in permitting processes, saving money for developers and overall bringing down the cost of offshore wind.

“Taking the lead from the project developer as a consultant” can provide for smoother permitting and faster regulations approvals leading for a shorter window required for projects to start up and begin running said Ohleth. Her suggestion of “consulting early and often” can help to avoid unforeseen costs associated with the permitting process and is a pivotal idea for successful consultation by Ecology and Environment.

The legal framework of offshore wind is complex, showing it is necessary to be current with consultations and communicating the development plan. The principles of meaningful stakeholder engagement, as explained by Catherine Bowes of the National Wildlife Foundation, are based in maintaining communication early in the process to avoid surprises during the development process. Siting, timing, and construction activities can be evaluated during project development for the protection of the environment.

Concurrently, the development of new technologies can further abate problems that arise during the construction process. Bowes noted that noise produced by pile driving support structures can be mitigated by investing in gravity based foundations that require no pile driving at all, removing the need for acoustic monitoring. Together, effective management in conjunction with the development of new technology in an efficient and environmentally conscious manner can lower the cost of permitting and minimize the time between planning and the construction phases of siting an offshore wind farm.

Overall, success in implementing more offshore wind farms will result from thorough work in spatial marine planning, permitting, communication with the stakeholders, and improvements in technology.

NYSERDA presents offshore wind Master Plan in public information meetings

By: Lizzie Barminski

The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) hosted a series of New York City Public Information Meetings and Fish and Fisheries Open Houses last week around the city. The Network attended the meeting at the New York Aquarium on Aug. 16.

Cindy Shurling introduced the NYSERDA representatives Doreen Harris and Greg Lampman who presented on the Master Plan and went over the state of offshore wind in New York. Over the course of the week representatives from the U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of State, Department of Public Service, Long Island Power Authority, and New York State Assembly staffers attended the meetings.

NYSERDA is focused on advancing innovative energy solutions for New Yorkers as championed by Gov. Cuomo’s Clean Energy goals. The New York State Energy Plan set aggressive goals for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, 50% electricity from renewable energy sources, and 23% decrease in energy consumption in buildings from 2012 levels by 2030.

New York City faces challenges with large uses of electricity in areas called “load pockets,” but future offshore wind located near these areas will provide more local clean energy. New York announced the highest offshore wind goal of 2,400 MW by 2030 with the capacity to power 1.25 million homes in the state. Offshore wind projects off the coast of Long Island will also provide construction, manufacturing and operations jobs – an important aspect for the city and state economy.

NYSERDA’s Offshore Wind Master Plan outlines the future of offshore wind in New York. The goal is to develop the industry in a “cost-effective and responsible manner.” The plan outlines the steps for securing and developing offshore wind in New York waters, with potential offshore wind farms composed of 240 to 300 turbines, explained Doreen Harris. She also highlighted that no fishing restrictions would be imposed in the wind farm areas because the turbines are often 1 mile apart.

NYSERDA identified the Offshore Study Area wherein 20 studies and surveys are underway to identify sites best suited for offshore wind. Only 2% of the whole study area needs to be developed to reach the goal of 2400 MW – providing confidence to secure offshore wind sites and reach State energy goals. The studies and surveys focus on environmental, social and regulatory, economic and infrastructure. For example, the Marine Wildlife Aerial Survey captures the presence of various species in the study area – highlighting the importance of considering wildlife before the development of any projects. 

The meeting concluded with a Question & Answer session. The public asked questions ranging from the benefits of offshore wind compared to solar power to specific questions about the effect of electromagnetic radiation on marine wildlife. The attendees generally supported the efforts to bring offshore wind to New York, and those who needed convincing were searching for more environmental research to ensure marine wildlife is not negatively impacted by development and operation of wind farms. Environmental Studies conducted by BOEM were provided and attendees were able to present questions to BOEM representatives one-on-one  after the meeting. NYSERDA will continue to work on the Marine Wildlife Aerial Survey and additional surveys that will be posted along with the Offshore Master Plan by the end of the year.

IPF 2018 Sponsorship and Exhibition Opportunities

See the link below to sponsor or exhibit at IPF 2018.

Sponsorship Prospectus 2018

Please contact our office at admin@offshorewindus.org if you have any questions or concerns.

Congressman opposes offshore wind: My view and the importance of your voice

By: Liz Burdock

As some of you may have read, Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced an amendment prohibiting federal funds made available through the U.S. Dept. of Interior (DOI) Appropriations budget being used to conduct reviews of site assessment or construction and operation plans for any project that would entail the construction or location of wind turbines less than 24 nautical miles from Maryland’s shoreline. The bill at issue is for the next fiscal year, which begins in October, and funds the U.S. Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM), an agency funded through DOI.

I am sharing my perspective to help clarify questions or concerns you may have after reading media stories. As the Executive Director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, I follow U.S. offshore wind developments everyday. This amendment by Congressman Harris was not a surprise.

A couple of things I told Network members in an email last Tuesday night when the amendment passed the subcommittee included the fact that this is NOT a Trump Administration proposal or effort. It is, plain and simple, a local effort possibly spearheaded by Ocean City to eliminate the view of red blinking lights from the shore and alleviate their concerns over decreasing tourism and property values.  Ocean City officials have effectively used their Congressional representative to make their concerns known.

While the U.S. House of Representative Interior Appropriations subcommittees approved the amendment, this is a first and early step in a very long legislative process and it is highly unlikely that it would ultimately be signed into law. House Republicans have indicated the underlying spending bill may never make it to a vote in its current form due to disagreements within the GOP. Republican leaders will likely have to negotiate with Democrats to fund the government.  If Harris’ amendment is approved in the House, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)—a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee—would oppose it and lead a group of bipartisan senators to remove the language. Democrats have more sway over the appropriations process in the Senate, where Republicans will need 60 votes to fund government agencies.

 The Business Network is following this and all developments closely.   As offshore wind moves from theory to reality in the United States, I can promise there will be many more local, state and federal obstacles and disputes to overcome. Unfortunately, this will not be the last.   However, we cannot stop or fight these issues without your support. There is strength in working together and presenting a unified offshore wind supply chain. If you want to see a US offshore wind industry grow and create opportunities for your business to benefit then you need to take a stand. Join the Network today. With your help we can:

  • Push back against policies and regulations that are harmful to the U.S. OSW industry
  • Make the supply chain voices heard on this issue to policymakers at all levels—effectively using our ability to make our concerns known
  • Educate both the public and decision makers about the facts re: view shed, tourism and property values along with the benefits of OSW.

If you want the industry to succeed in the U.S., get information and analysis on the US Offshore Wind market, meet all the key industry stakeholders and be seen as a leader committed to the industry, join our membership today.

Network Statement on DOI Appropriations Amendment

Baltimore, Maryland – July 19, 2017 —The Business Network For Offshore Wind, a leader in building the U.S. offshore wind supply chain, believes addressing stakeholder conflicts throughout the offshore wind development process is critical. The U.S. House of Representative Interior Appropriations SubCommittees approval of an amendment that prohibits federal funds to conduct reviews of site assessment or construction and operation plans for any project that would entail the construction or location of wind turbines less than 24 nautical miles from the State of Maryland shoreline circumvents the established DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) regulatory process. It could also undermine the State of Maryland’s investment in the offshore wind projects.

BOEM has entered long-term lease contracts with developers and received many millions of dollars in return for material use of the defined areas in the ocean. To suddenly and subsequently disallow the use for which the contract was originally agreed could result in a breach of contract and possible constitutional violation.

BOEM requires extensive stakeholder outreach and marine spatial planning process that de-conflicts the wind energy area prior to the Point of Sale Notice (PSN). Furthermore, BOEM’s Construction and Operations Plan approval also requires stakeholder outreach and input in order to minimize conflicts. The Network has witnessed firsthand how BOEM’s offshore wind energy area leasing policies foster the co-existence of industries and shared utilization of our nation’s ocean resources to the benefit of the states, their businesses, and citizens.

It is the Network’s and its more than 150 members’ position that conflicts that arise can be resolved with sound science, education and a willingness to cooperate. We remain committed to resolving these concerns based on meeting the mutual needs of all the parties across the State. We hope that this issue will be resolved quickly and that the Maryland offshore wind projects can be developed within a timely manner to benefit the emerging offshore wind industry supply chain.

Maryland PSC Awards ORECS to Two Offshore Wind Developers Projects to Create Jobs, Economic Development in New Industry

International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum – Day 2 Update

The second day of the 2017 IPF was a success, with over 400 people in attendance and an impressive lineup of speaker sessions and panel discussions running throughout the day.

If you aren’t able to make it to this year’s IPF, every day you can tune in right here for our conference show dailies, which will provide a recap of the conference events.

This year’s IPF show dailies are brought to you by reNEWS, a proud media sponsor of the 2017 IPF. Click the link below for an inside look at what unfolded on Day 2 of the 2017 IPF.

View the show daily for April 20

The International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum is Here!

The first day of the 2017 IPF has arrived, with an exciting opening plenary featuring key leaders in offshore wind on the schedule.

If you aren’t able to make it to this year’s IPF, every day you can tune in right here for our conference show dailies, which will provide a recap of the conference events.

This year’s IPF show dailies are brought to you by reNEWS, a proud media sponsor of the 2017 IPF. Click the link below for an inside look at what’s to come on Day 1 of the 2017 IPF.

View the show daily for April 19

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