Liz Burdock, Executive Director, Business Network for Offshore Wind
As our annual International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF) is becoming recognized as a major event in the industry, we are seeing an increase in opportunities to make some news during the event. This year, thanks to some important announcements from our political speakers and key business leaders, we felt an historic change in the course of our offshore wind industry.
We strive to strike a balance between conference, exhibition and one-on-one connections, so we were pleased to hear an attendee tell us, “You managed to get the really difficult balance between main presentations, specialist sessions, and ensuring that exhibitors had sufficient footfall just right.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy got us started last Wednesday, by receiving a standing ovation from more than 750 industry representatives and then announcing that Ørsted, the world’s largest offshore wind developer and holder of a huge lease off the coast of New Jersey, would be opening their first New Jersey state office in Atlantic City this week. Governor Murphy also powerfully re-stated his commitment to the goal of 3500MW (megawatts) of offshore wind energy by 2030.
That commitment was reinforced by two other important speakers on Friday, New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and NJ Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso, who shared their passionate support of clean energy and their determination to move forward rapidly on offshore wind.
On the business side, EDF Renewable Energy announced on Wednesday their acquisition of the Fishermen’s Energy project, which will include four 6MW turbines three miles off of the Atlantic City coast, with the intention of bringing it online by 2020.
Also on Wednesday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, declared that it will assess the waters off the Atlantic Coast for potential future offshore wind energy lease areas. This latest assessment opens the door to an expansion of the offshore market and will create more opportunities for investment and supply chain development.
Finally, to close the conference on Friday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stated that he viewed offshore wind and its connections to the grid as important elements of the U.S. energy infrastructure before making two important announcements:
- BOEM will hold auctions for two wind energy areas off the coast of Massachusetts totaling 390,000 acres in the months to come
- BOEM is publishing a Call for Information and Nominations for four proposed wind energy areas in the New York Bight area (Atlantic ocean between New Jersey to the west and Long Island to the north) that were presented as Areas for Consideration by NYSERDA last year.
We thank the Secretary, all of our guest speakers, and our dedicated participants for making this an event to remember, and we look forward to more offshore wind milestones in the weeks and months ahead.