September 20 (Renewables Now) - The US Departments of the Interior and Energy on Tuesday unveiled an Action Plan for Offshore Wind Transmission Development in the US Atlantic Region.
The plan sets out immediate actions required to connect the first wave of offshore wind projects and longer-term moves to expand transmission over the next decades. In the medium to long run, increased intra-regional coordination, shared transmission lines, and an offshore network of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) interlinks can be beneficial, the report says.
The plan is part of efforts of the Biden administration to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind in the US by 2030, a goal it set in 2021. The US also aims to create a pathway to 110 GW by 2050.
The country is just starting to build offshore wind in scale and development activities are concentrated in the Atlantic waters off its northeastern coast.
The plan’s recommendations for immediate actions before 2025 include establishing collaborative bodies that span the Atlantic Coast region; clarifying some of the building blocks of transmission planning, including updating reliability standards and identifying where offshore transmission may interconnect with the onshore grid; and addressing costs through voluntary cost assignments and tax credits.
The recommended actions from 2025 to 2030 include simultaneous convening and coordination with states to plan for an offshore transmission network; with industry to standardise requirements for HVDC technology; and with federal agencies, tribal nations, state agencies, and stakeholders to identify and prioritise transmission paths on the outer continental shelf.
From 2030 to 2040 the plan calls for establishing a national HVDC testing and certification center to ensure compatibility when interconnecting multiple HVDC substations to form an offshore grid network.
The Department of Energy (DoE) and a number of Atlantic states have already started work on the formation of an Offshore Wind Transmission State Collaborative to develop a shared vision on policy and approach to coordination for offshore transmission development.
The Action Plan was informed by the soon-to-be-released Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study, the departments said.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to using all the tools in the toolbox to advance offshore wind as a critical renewable energy source to transition the nation to a clean energy future,” stated US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
The statement noted that the Biden administration has approved four commercial-scale offshore wind projects and stays on track to complete reviews of at least 16 offshore wind project plans by 2025, representing over 27 GW of capacity. Since the start of the current administration, 19 offshore wind shipbuilding projects have been announced, as well as nearly USD 3.5 billion (EUR 3.3bn) of investments across 12 manufacturing facilities and 13 ports.
Offshore wind projects have recently faced difficulties amid increased costs. Last week, the governors of six northeastern US states called for federal action to support the sector.
The Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Action Plan can be viewed here on the DoE website, with the page featuring a slider to view the recommended development over 20 years.
Earlier in 2023, meanwhile, DoE started a West Coast Offshore Wind Transmission Study.