It is clear, from the talk at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Offshore Windpower 2012 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that an offshore wind energy revolution is in the offing.
Europe has over 4,000 megawatts of installed offshore wind capacity, 150 gigawatts in planning and is expected to build at least 1,000 megawatts per year through 2020. The U.S. has none built but has some fifteen pilot, research and utility-scale projects of about ten gigawatts planned.
AWEA Public Policy Senior Vice President Rob Gramlich summarized the many ways U.S. offshore wind is nearly ready to step up.
First, Cape Wind, the U.S. banner carrier, having passed all its regulatory hurdles, just announced the buy of a Falmouth, MA, O&M facility as it readies for planting Siemens (NYSE:SI) turbines in the Nantucket Sound seabed. It even, finally, got the approval of a Kennedy when Congressional candidate Joseph Kennedy III broke with the Hyannis Port elders and endorsed the 468-megawatt project off Cape Cod.
Fishermen’s Energy, a consortium of actual fishing industry veterans committed to the future of ocean commerce and a much bigger catch, got over its federal and state regulatory hurdles and began readying a pilot project for construction off Atlantic City.
Deepwater Wind is very near going into the water with its small Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island, a proof-of-product project for a company that is planning thousands of ocean-wind megawatts.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) issued Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSIs) for much of the Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Area (WEA), opening the New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia coasts to streamlined permitting.