In this issue, we’ll update you on:
- Ocean Winds Now Behind Mayflower
- Massachusetts Approves Offshore Wind Energy Contracts
- 2020 Geophysical & Geotechnical Surveys Demobilized
- 2019-2020 Aerial Surveys Completed
Ocean Winds Now Behind Mayflower
EDP Renewables and ENGIE have combined their existing and planned offshore wind efforts to form a new company, Ocean Winds (OW), that is one of the largest “pure” offshore wind development enterprises in the world. After launching OW in Europe, EDP Renewables and ENGIE are now unveiling the U.S. arm of this new company: OW North America.
“OW will be a major element in creating the new clean, sustainable, and prosperous economy that Americans are demanding and OW North America can help to build that future” said OW CEO Spyros Martinis, adding, “OW North America from Day One is in the business of developing and delivering real offshore wind projects.”
Regulators around the world, including U.S. authorities, have approved the merger of EDPR and ENGIE’s offshore wind businesses allowing OW to begin life with 5.5 gigawatts (GW) of committed offshore assets starting with a total of 1.5 GW under construction and 4.0 GW under development, with the target of reaching 5 to 7 GW of projects in operation or under construction and 5 to 10 GW under advanced development by the middle of this decade.
OW North America and Shell New Energies are 50:50 owners of the Mayflower Wind joint venture.
Massachusetts Approves Offshore Wind Energy Contracts
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved the long-term contracts for 804 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind between Mayflower Wind and the electric distribution companies that serve electricity customers across Massachusetts. These contracts result from Mayflower Wind’s successful bid in 2019 under the Commonwealth’s Section 83C II procurement, a program designed to ensure a resilient energy future and secure progress toward greenhouse gas reduction requirements.
Criteria used in the evaluation of the bids included an economic evaluation of the benefits for ratepayers, ability to provide enhanced electric reliability, foster employment and economic development, and mitigate environmental impacts. As a result of a stringent review, Mayflower Wind was determined to provide the greatest overall value to Massachusetts customers.
The DPU’s Order approved the selection and found that these contracts are cost-effective as well as in the public interest. Overall, the total net benefits to Massachusetts ratepayers over the life of the contract, as calculated by the MA Department of Energy Resources, are expected to be approximately $2.4 billion.
Mayflower Wind is on track to build one of the first utility scale offshore wind projects in the United States. We are proud to be among the single largest contributors to achieving the Commonwealth’s net zero emissions by 2050.
2020 Geophysical & Geotechnical Surveys Demobilized
The 2020 geophysical and geotechnical (G&G) surveys within Mayflower Wind’s offshore lease area (OCS-A 0521) and along potential export cable routes to bring the clean power to shore have demobilized for the season.
Mayflower Wind is proud to report that the surveys were completed within 430 days of operational time at zero harm to people or environment. All survey activities were performed in accordance with federal and state regulations and health and safety policies and procedures. COVID-19 response plans were incorporated into vessel operators’ emergency response plans. Across the six vessels, more than 316,000 hours of work occurred with zero COVID-19 cases.
The surveys continued the data acquisition work started in 2019 and have gathered information for the project’s application for a Construction and Operations Plan (COP). The plan, a requirement for federal permitting, will be implemented in coordination with stakeholders including regulatory agencies, mariners, Native American tribes, and port communities. The data and analysis from G&G surveys is critical to the technical design and installation of offshore wind farm facilities, including foundations and cables.
Fugro, a global leader in geo-data for energy and infrastructure industries, conducted the surveys. From April through October, six vessels were deployed, including five ships and one airplane.
2019-2020 Aerial Surveys Completed
Monthly aerial surveys of Mayflower Wind’s offshore lease area (OCS-A 0521) and surrounding area have been completed. Surveys were conducted from November 2019 through October 2020.
The primary objective of the work was to assess the abundance and distribution of birds present in the lease area, and to gather information on other marine fauna such as marine mammals, sharks, rays, and turtles. These surveys will provide baseline information required for conducting impact assessments and meet the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM’s) regulatory requirements for environmental review.
Survey data represented the total number of birds, other marine fauna, and incidental occurrences recorded across all images (including those that may fall outside the area of investigation). To meet the objectives of the project, images were captured using a grid-based survey design with a 1.5 cm ground sampling distance. Images were analyzed by APEM, Inc. and quality assurance has been undertaken by Normandeau Associates.
Mayflower Wind has partnered with the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) to share real-time weather and ocean data collected by the buoy for mariners and the scientific community to use. NERACOOS mission is to produce, integrate, and communicate high quality information that helps ensure safety, economic and environmental resilience, and sustainable use of the coastal ocean. Mayflower Wind’s floating buoy data will help to support these efforts and help to inform other research efforts in the Atlantic region. Visit NERACOOS to view the data!
Mayflower Wind, a 50/50 joint venture between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDPR Offshore North America LLC, is developing an offshore wind lease area with the potential to supply up to 2,000 megawatts of low-cost clean energy.