European wind developer Scottish Power Renewables has staked is claim in the emerging US offshore wind market by successfully bidding for two lease areas off the east coast.
The company has won the rights to develop projects off the coasts of Massachusetts and North Carolina that at full potential could generate up to a combined 4GW. This pipeline exceeds Scottish Power’s total portfolio of operational projects, which currently generates 1.6GW.
One of the areas is the Martha’s Vineyard zone, which spans 115 square miles beginning 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. Scottish Power estimated the area is large enough for turbines to generate 1.5GW and expects the first project to be operational in 2022.
The other area, off the coast of North Carolina, could one day generate 2.5GW, with a first operation date of 2025.
Scottish Power has one operating offshore wind farm off the coast of England that generates 714MW and is planning other projects near Germany and France.
“We as a country are seen to be the leaders in this type of technology,” Scottish Power chief corporate officer Keith Anderson said. “It's great to be creating opportunities and developing skills in the UK, but also to see these being exported.”
Developers active in Europe’s offshore wind market have been lining up leasing rights in the US as federal and state governments have been making moves to open their shores for wind projects.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation last August requiring utilities to generate 1.6GW of electricity from offshore wind farms within a decade. In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo said offshore wind would be a critical component in New York’s future energy plan, announcing his intent to develop 2.4GW in the state by 2030.
And last week, Maryland Public Service Commission approved two offshore wind projects and accelerated the industry with a provision to build a steel fabrication port facility.