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OFFSHORE WIND POWER GAINS TRACTION IN U.S.


Guest Chris Madison
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Guest Chris Madison

Experts from engineering companies, government universities and environmental groups will gather in Wilmington, Del. next week for an offshore wind power workshop held by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in cooperation with the Sierra Club and with the support of the University of Delaware, at a time when prospects for offshore wind projects are rapidly and steadily rising.

 

“No wind projects have been built off U.S. shores yet,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “But it’s just a matter of time. Offshore wind resources are not only vast, they are often located near fast-growing, populated coastal areas where demand for power is huge and growing, and concerns about global warming abound.”

 

Delmarva Power recently signed a 25-year contract with Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC, a subsidiary of Babcock & Brown, for up to 200 MW from Bluewater’s proposed facility 11.5 miles offshore Rehoboth Beach. It was the first such contract signed in the U.S., and the Delaware Public Utilities Commission recently approved the agreement.

 

“It took courage; you needed a state to step up and say, ‘We want to be the first,’” said Hunter Armistead, head of Babcock & Brown’s North American energy group, and program chair for the workshop.

 

A project proposed off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts has been in the planning and approval process for several years. More projects are being considered or proposed along the Atlantic coast, from New York to Texas.

 

In May 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s report on a 20% wind energy scenario found offshore wind capacity could be about one-sixth of total wind power generation by 2030.

 

The workshop, which will be held September 9-10 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Wilmington, will cover the benefits of integrating offshore wind into the U.S. energy picture, offshore wind technology, regulatory environment, wind and wave assessment and measurement techniques, and the environmental and community considerations.

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