US offshore wind grants of USD 80m go to alternate projects

Offshore wind park. Author: Tim Collins. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

May 30 (SeeNews) - Two offshore wind projects by Dominion Virginia Power and Principle Power lost their Department of Energy (DOE) grants, of USD 39.9 million (EUR 36m) each, with the funds going for two other proposals.

An offshore wind pilot project by a University of Maine-led consortium, and Lake Erie Energy Development Corp’s (LEEDCo) demonstration wind project in Lake Erie will get the grants instead. The first of the two developments, called New England Aqua Ventus I, envisages the installation of two 6-MW direct-drive turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations off Monhegan Island, Maine. LEEDCo’s Icebreaker project, on the other hand, is to install six 3.45-MW direct-drive turbines on Mono Bucket foundations off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

The DOE said Friday that Fishermen’s Energy, which secured a grant alongside Dominion and Principle Power two years ago, will get a short-term extension to secure a power offtake agreement by the end of 2016.

The three projects, which the DOE says have “demonstrated significant progress toward being successfully completed and producing power”, will each receive three rounds of USD-13.3-million grants upon meeting project milestones.


Dominion’s Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP) involves the installation of two 6-MW Alstom turbines, while Principle Power’s project off Oregon is for 30 MW of capacity, using the WindFloat deepwater semi-submersible turbine floating foundation.

Dominion Virginia Power said in a separate statement Friday the DOE’s decision came because the company could not guarantee an in-service date earlier than 2020. The company will be assessing options for its project as it is facing uncertainties related to the high cost of construction, of between USD 300 million and USD 380 million, the inability to get firm construction contracts, and the increasing complexities of gaining regulatory approval for energy infrastructure projects.

"[We] recognize the unique regulatory and cost challenges involved in our project and appreciate the DOE's desire to support other projects that may have an earlier opportunity for fruition," said Mary Doswell, senior vice president‒Dominion Energy Solutions.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.901)

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