The first few weeks of 2020 have seen several governors outline, in their respective State of the State addresses, ambitious clean energy objectives in which offshore wind plays a key component. Here is a summary of these exciting announcements:
Virginia – Governor Ralph Northam
Governor Northam has set a target of 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy (solar and wind) under way during his term, plus 2,500 megawatts from offshore wind by 2026. Furthermore, Virginia intends to derive 30% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, and have 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
Virginia also announced advancements in the offshore wind context. Construction on the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, the first offshore wind installation in federal waters, commenced during 2019. With commercial scale offshore wind development on the horizon, Governor Northam proposed creating the Virginia Office of Offshore Wind. This will help Virginia expand supply chain and logistics opportunities, including advanced manufacturing jobs in Hampton Roads. Investments to realize these opportunities are required, and Virginia earmarked $40 million to upgrade the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
Under the terms of the deal released by the governor’s office, Ørsted will lease 1.7 acres at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal through 2026, with the option of expanding that footprint to 40 acres. According to a news release, “if fully executed,” the agreement could produce almost $13 million in lease payments and more than $20 million in site upgrades. In Norfolk, Northam said offshore wind could add some 14,000 new jobs in Hampton Roads.
New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo
To strengthen New York’s position as a hub of the U.S. offshore wind industry, Governor Cuomo’s announcement included several key steps. In 2020, NYSERDA will issue its second offshore wind solicitation, expected to yield another 1 GW of clean power, taking advantage of rapidly falling offshore wind energy costs and providing affordable, reliable clean energy to New Yorkers.
Additionally, NYSERDA, the Department of Transportation and Empire State Development will issue a competitive solicitation in early 2020 to award $200 million in public investments paired with private investment in port infrastructure. Finally, SUNY’s Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University campuses will launch the $20 million Offshore Wind Training Institute, formally soliciting partnerships so that training of 2,500 New Yorkers can begin in 2021, when the industry is expected to need a significant number of new, skilled employees.
New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy
During 2019, New Jersey more than doubled its commitment to offshore wind, seeking 7,500 megawatts by 2035. Governor Murphy made it abundantly clear that combating climate change will be a cornerstone of New Jersey’s innovation economy.
On January 27, 2020, New Jersey unveiled its finalized Energy Master Plan, which reaffirms New Jersey’s commitment to 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2035.
Additionally, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 100 directs New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection to – within two years – enact regulatory reforms collectively referred to as “Protecting Against Climate Threats” or PACT. These regulations will, among other things, establish a greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting program, and will require land use regulations to incorporate climate change considerations into permitting decisions.
Maine – Governor Janet Mills
Governor Mills’ announcement made clear that Maine is seeking to reassert its position at the forefront of floating offshore wind development. Noting that the Gulf of Maine is warming more quickly than nearly every ocean in the world, Governor Mills recommitted Maine to building and launching the first floating offshore wind project in the United States, Aqua Ventus. During spring 2020, a delegation from Maine will be visiting Scotland to learn more about their floating offshore wind installations. Additional information is expected in the coming weeks.
Rhode Island – Governor Gina Raimondo
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo made history during her 2020 State of the State address. She announced that Rhode Island will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2030, the first American state to make such a commitment. Offshore wind will continue to play a central role in Rhode Island’s energy transformation, as half the state’s energy needs will be served by offshore wind within the next few years.