A mega bid on wind
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo returns Friday from a quick trip to Israel. Environmental activists and wind developers hope that the next big event on his schedule will be the long-postponed announcement about the granting of offshore wind leases.
The administration missed the state’s own June deadline, and now a new baseline has been set for such projects. Last week New Jersey selected Danish giant Orsted to build the nation’s largest wind farm at 1,100 megawatts, some 15 miles off of the coast of Atlantic City.
Cuomo will not settle for playing second fiddle, so figure New York’s solicitation will be somewhere between 1,200 megawatts and the maximum he can award at this time, which is around 2,400 megawatts. That’s not only bigger, it’s big.
In the meantime, another fascinating offshore wind drama is playing out on the federal level, which could shape future solicitations in the region. Remember: New York’s target for wind, codified in the recently passed climate change bill, is 9,000 megawatts by 2035, while New Jersey is shooting for 3,500 megawatts by 2030. But how will all that energy be plugged into the region’s electric grid?
Enter the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which last week published a request for competitive interest from companies interested in developing what essentially would be a transmission grid built in the ocean. The federal agency was responding to an unsolicited request from transmission developer Anbaric Development Partners to create what it calls the New York/New Jersey Ocean Grid Project — a 185-mile system of transmission lines and nine collector platforms off the Long Island and New Jersey coasts. This ocean grid, with a proposed capacity of 5,900 megawatts, would collect the power generated by all the wind turbines awarded by the two states and distribute it to the onshore grid via as many as six landings located from Long Island to Cardiff, New Jersey.
A transmission system like the one Anbaric is proposing could deliver wind energy to different places depending on where it’s needed, an important consideration with a resource that is intermittent. And it would save wind developers the headaches associated with trying to get permits to bring their own transmission lines ashore, opposition to which on Long Island is never intermittent.