Connecticut – currently ranked among the states with the lowest level of wind-generated electric power – is looking to boost those numbers. According to data from the American Wind Energy Association, Connecticut ranks number 40 of 41 states analyzed by the industry association. But the association suggests that “Connecticut is well positioned to participate in the offshore wind economy and supply chain.”
In recent weeks, a plan for a project tied to New London’s State Pier, which would become the hub for the building and distribution of 35 wind turbines that would be placed 40 miles off the Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts coastline by 2023, has gained attention. If completed, the proposed 300-megawatt wind farm will be able to power around 150,000 Connecticut homes, officials said.
The New London Day reported late last year that “the developer of the first U.S. offshore wind farm and the world's largest offshore wind company share a vision of New London as a world-class installation harbor for upcoming projects along the East Coast.”
In January, the Governor’s Office indicated that Ørsted, a global offshore wind energy leader, is developing its 300-megawatt Revolution Wind farm that will contribute nearly $32 million in local investments, including $1.5 million in host community payments to New London, a $3 million grant to the city to improve maritime facilities used by the city’s commercial fishing industry, and more than $4.5 million in grants supporting workforce and supply chain studies as well as research and STEM education at regional institutions. The company expects to open a New London development office this spring.
In February, Danish wind energy developer Ørsted announced that it was entering into a partnership with New England’s largest energy company, Eversource, to develop key offshore wind assets in the Northeast of the United States. Eversource is a major Connecticut energy supplier. The company transmits and delivers electricity to 1.2 million customers in 149 cities and towns and provides natural gas to 220,000 customers in 71 communities in Connecticut.
The U.S. has over 500 manufacturing facilities producing products for the wind industry that range from blade, tower and turbine nacelle assembly facilities to raw component suppliers, including fiberglass and steel. Three are said to be in Connecticut.
Some examples of wind energy in Connecticut, according to the Energize Connecticut website, are Quinnipiac’s York hill campus wind turbine garden and the wind turbine project in Colebrook. “The two wind turbines that now loom over Route 44 on the way to Winsted, representing Connecticut’s first commercial wind farm, may soon be joined by a third, Norfolk Now reported last September.
“In Connecticut, the most suitable conditions tend to fall along the shoreline and in Litchfield County, although other areas of higher elevation are possible,” the website explains.
An industry study published last month projects the offshore renewable energy source will generate nearly 20 gigawatts (GW) of “cost-competitive power” in seven Atlantic Coast states, including Connecticut, by 2030, and nearly $70 billion in capital expenditure revenue opportunity for businesses in the U.S. offshore wind supply chain. It projects 2 GW in Connecticut by 2030.
By installed capacity, the leaders in wind power are Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, California, Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado and Washington State. New York is ranked 14, Maine at number 22, and Massachusetts at 35. Connecticut is sandwiched between New Jersey and Delaware, near the bottom of the list. Data was not available for nine states.
“In quantifying the industrialization of offshore wind in the U.S., this white paper illustrates just how much potential there is in the sector, top to bottom,” Jason Folsom, Boston-based U.S. National Sales Director for MHI Vestas Offshore Wind said in response to the industry study. “It presents an exceptionally compelling case on the emergence of offshore wind as an engine for U.S. energy transition.” The firm plans to install 84 of its new 9.5 megawatts (MW) turbines in Massachusetts’ 800 MW Vineyard Wind project, which will be America’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm. https://www.awea.org/