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Bid Accepted for Offshore NC Wind Farm

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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Avangrid Inc. has won the right to develop an offshore wind farm off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with a $9 million bid to the federal government.

The Spanish energy company worked out of its U.S. subsidiary in Portland, Oregon—Avangrid Renewables—to place the $9,066,650 bid that beat out Wind Future LLC, Statoil Wind US LLC and WPD Offshore Alpha LLC to secure the first offshore wind lease off North Carolina, and one of the first in the southeastern United States.

Images: Energy.gov, U.S. Government Work via Flickr

The first offshore wind farm to be successfully developed off the U.S. coast went online in December 2016—the Block Island Wind Facility (pictured) developed by Deepwater Wind.

The 122,405-acre North Carolina site was the seventh competitive lease sale conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which have generated $58 million in winning bids for more than one million acres of federal waters. The country's first to be successfully developed went online in December 2016—the Block Island Wind Facility developed by Deepwater Wind.

Other U.S. Offshore Sites

The 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm, (a small array in comparison with the North Carolina lease area, with the capacity for 1,486 megawatts) off the coast of Rhode Island, is made up of five turbines that were build by General Electric and are capable of powering about 17,000 homes, providing about 90 percent of Block Island’s energy needs.

The farm cost about $300 million to build and construction created about 300 jobs.

The installation process took about 18 months for the modest Rhode Island farm. First, it took four and half months to install the latticework that holds the turbines 589 feet above the ocean. Those foundations were secured to the ocean floor with piles.

Four inter-array cables were then installed to connect the turbine foundations and the export cable, and the turbines themselves were made up of 15 tower sections and 15 blades, supplied by GE Renewable Energy and blade manufacturer LM Wind Power. Much of the materials were delivered via jack-up vessels.

The installation process took about 18 months for the modest Rhode Island farm.

“Projects like the Block Island Wind Farm are the future not only of Rhode Island’s economy, but the whole country’s economy,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said last summer at the beginning of construction.

It took Deepwater about eight years to complete the project.

The North Carolina Site

The Kitty Hawk project will have a much longer time frame because of its larger overall scale and capacity—potentially 3 megawatts per square kilometer. According to BOEM, Avangrid has one year to submit a site assessment plan for approval, which will describe the installment plans and the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions.

Following SAP approval, Avangrid will have just over four years to submit a construction and operations plan for approval, which is followed by an environmental review. Then, the company has another 25 years to complete the project.

However, some experts believe that the companies who have these offshore leases, like Avangrid, will hang onto them for a period of time to see if prices go down.

Katharine Kollins, president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, said she doesn’t expect construction for at least 10 years.

It took four and half months to install the latticework that holds the turbines 589 feet above the ocean. Those foundations were secured to the ocean floor with piles.

“It’s extremely encouraging how the offshore wind industry feels about continued development and growth, specifically in North Carolina,” she said, however. “Right now the cost of offshore wind is not in line with Southeast electricity prices. I doubt you’ll see construction for at least a decade.”

Avangrid’s Other Work

Avandgrid already operates North Carolina’s first commercial-scale wind farm in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, which also went online in December 2016.

That project culminated in 104 turbines that produce enough energy to power 61,000 homes—about 208 megawatts. With a price tag of $400 million, the company says its construction created about 500 jobs.

“Almost everyone in the community knows someone who worked on the wind farm, sold or rented something that helped build the wind farm, or owns land where the project was built,” said Cecil Perry, Chairman of the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners. “These jobs, and this nearly $400 million investment in a rural part of North Carolina, are welcome—everyone in the county will benefit from the long-term property tax payments.”

   

Tagged categories: Construction; Jobs; Renewable raw materials

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