New Jersey seeks bids for 4 GW offshore wind; US to sell 18 GW of floating wind leases

The wind power news you need to know.

New Jersey launches 4 GW offshore wind tender

The U.S. state of New Jersey has launched its fourth offshore wind auction to secure between 1.2 GW and 4 GW of clean power.

The solicitation, which opened on April 30 and will close on July 10, is part of efforts by Governor Philip Murphy to build 7.5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2035.

In its previous auction in January, New Jersey awarded contracts for the 1.3 GW Attentive Energy Two project (TotalEnergies and Corio Generation) and the 2.4 GW Leading Light Wind project (Invenergy and energyRe).

The awards came after a tumultuous year that saw the cancellation of several offshore wind projects in the U.S. Northeast due to higher costs. In October, Orsted canceled its Ocean Wind 1 and 2 projects off the coast of New Jersey citing soaring inflation, rising interest rates and delays in securing ships needed to build the projects.

Earlier this month, neighbouring state New York decided not to sign offtake agreements with three planned offshore wind projects with a total capacity of 4 GW after turbine supplier GE Vernova decided to switch to a smaller turbine.

The decision refers to the 1.4 GW Attentive Energy One (TotalEnergies and Corio Generation), 1.3 GW Community Offshore Wind (RWE and National Grid) and 1.3 GW Excelsior Wind (Vineyard Offshore) projects that were all awarded provisional contracts in a competitive auction in October 2023.

The developers declined to comment on their plan for the projects but they could potentially seek to sell power to New Jersey.

US to sell 18 GW of floating wind leases in Maine, Oregon

The Biden administration plans to lease 10 offshore wind areas this year in the Gulf of Maine and Oregon that could produce up to 18 GW of floating wind capacity.

The lease sale includes eight areas offshore Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, totaling nearly one million acres. These areas have the potential to generate approximately 15 GW of clean energy, enough to power approximately five million homes.

The sale could potentially take place in October, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), said. 

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The U.S. also plans to sell two lease areas spanning 195,000 acres off the coast of Oregon that could generate 3.1 GW of clean energy.

The deep waters in the Gulf of Maine and Oregon mean the lease areas are more suited to floating wind technology.

The bidding process will provide credits to bidders that support workforce training programs or supply chain development.

The U.S. plans to hold 12 offshore wind lease sales by 2028, the Interior Department announced on April 24.

The five-year schedule also includes wind lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico this year.

Ireland identifies four offshore wind build areas

The Irish government has identified four offshore wind development areas off the country’s south coast.

According to the South Coast Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP), which was released on May 3, Ireland plans to build a 900 MW offshore wind farm in an area known as Tonn Nua that could start producing power by 2030. Three other areas were designated for development over the next decade.

Ireland plans to install at least 5 GW of fixed-bottom offshore wind capacity by 2030 and a further 2 GW of floating wind for the production of green hydrogen and other non-grid uses. In May 2023, Ireland awarded state-backed power contracts to four offshore wind projects with a combined capacity of 3.1 GW.

           Global installed offshore wind capacity by country (end of 2022)

                                                                  (Click image to enlarge)

Source: U.S. Department of Energy's Offshore Wind Market Report, 2023 Edition (August 2023)

By 2040, Ireland plans to build 20 GW of offshore wind, rising to 37 GW by 2050, according to a new roadmap released by the government earlier this month.

The Future Framework for Offshore Renewable Energy says Ireland’s long term goal is to build enough offshore wind energy to replace the “volatile” fossil fuels the country imports to produce electricity.

Ireland could build more transmission to export excess offshore wind energy to France, the U.K., and other European markets, as well as a large-scale green hydrogen industry, the document says.

“Our offshore wind energy is potentially the largest domestic source of electricity that can replace volatile, imported fossil fuels. It also gives us our most exciting industrial opportunity for decades as we plan to not only power our own country, but export our excess energy to power Europe,” Eamon Ryan, the minister for environment and climate, said in a statement.

Chinese turbine suppliers failing to grow overseas

Despite efforts to expand overseas, Chinese wind turbine suppliers made 97% of their installations in their home market last year, according to data compiled by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

Global wind turbine installations rose by around 50% last year to a record 120.7 GW, or 23,833 wind turbines, GWEC said in a new report. China was a key driver of growth, installing 67% of all new capacity.

Last month, GWEC increased its wind installation forecast for 2024-2030 by 10%, to 1,210 GW, after major economies implemented policies to promote the wind industry.

“Growth is concentrated in mature markets like China, the U.S. and Germany, GWEC CEO Ben Backwell said.

"For wind energy to play its full role in the push to achieve Net Zero, growth needs to speed up across the globe, particularly in emerging and developing economies,” he said.

Four of the five top turbine manufacturers last year were Chinese. Goldwind was the top turbine supplier with 16.7 GW of capacity installed, followed by Envision (15.9 GW), Vestas (12.7 GW), Windey (10.5 GW) and Mingyang (10.2 GW), with the latter the world’s largest offshore wind turbine supplier.

Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, Nordex Group, GE Vernova and Enercon still have a stronghold on the European markets. According to GWEC, Chinese OEMs only installed 194.1 MW of wind turbines in Europe last year, of which only 8.4 MW was in the EU27.

Chinese suppliers have also failed to get a foothold in the U.S., where GE Vernova and Vestas are the largest suppliers, data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows.

Meanwhile, Vestas and Siemens Gamesa reported 155 MW and 3 MW installations in China last year, respectively, together accounting for only 0.2% of new installations in the country.

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