Vineyard to spark US gold rush

A first phase of the up to 3GW Vineyard offshore wind farm off Massachusetts will play a major role breathing life into the sector in the US, according to project co-developer Avangrid Renewables.

The Iberdrola company and partner Copenhagen Offshore Partners has bid part of the project into the ongoing 800MW call for offshore wind being run by the state. Winners are due in April.

“I think the most significant advantage our project has is the online date as early as 2021,” said Avangrid Renewables president and chief executive Laura Beane.

The project is “well into” its five-year plan with key permit applications under way and benefits from an experienced development team, added Beane.

“The combination of our US onshore renewables and transmission expertise, the expertise that we have in the US energy markets and, probably most importantly, the ability to leverage the capabilities of our European affiliate which has demonstrated technical knowledge and engineering capabilities uniquely positions us for a leading role in this growing market,” she added.

“We really believe that our early online date, a very mature project and a very skilled team is well positioned for success in this RFP,” said Beane.

If awarded a contract, the developer plans to start construction in 2019. Avangrid estimates Vineyard’s total potential capacity is 3GW.

Avangrid’s 2GW project off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina has a longer lead time, with construction expected after 2025.
The US offshore wind market is the “next frontier” for Avangrid, said Beane.

Offshore costs are declining, northeastern load centres have set aggressive renewable targets and there are insufficient land and siting issues for onshore generation and transmission.

“I think with all these fundamentals coming together it is clear that US offshore has a very bright future and is poised to play a big part in the renewables market going forward,” said Beane.