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« Renewables overtake Nuclear Years Earlier Than Expected | Main | While Trump promotes coal, other countries are turning to cheap sun power »
Wednesday
Apr192017

Germany’s “energy transition” sets sail for offshore wind turbines without subsidies 

While the global nuclear industry is pricing itself out of the energy market and into bankruptcy, Germany and the Danish offshore wind energy developer, builder and operator, DONG Energy, have agreed to build an offshore wind energy project in the German North Sea without government subsidy.  Instead, Denmark’s Dong Energy plans to rely on wholesale market prices instead of extra government support. The move further casts new nuclear power plant construction into deeper doubt.  By contrast for example, the United Kingdom’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project completely relies upon the government’s guarantee of more than twice the current UK wholesale electricity price for the next 35 years.  Germany’s offshore wind energy project presents a competitive sea change for the offshore and deep water wind industry globally.  The North Sea wind project starts out with a 240-megawatt (MW) farm at OWP West and another 240 MW farm at Borkum Riffgrund West 2. The projects are the first unsubsidized offshore wind turbines in all of Europe. DONG Energy was additionally awarded a third project in the German North Sea for the subsidized 110 MW Gode Wind 3 offshore wind farm.  

Here in the United Staes, DONG Energy Wind Power U.S. Inc. opens an office in Boston by the end of April 2017 after striking a deal with Eversource for the development of at least 2000 MW of wind energy 15-25 miles off the coast and over the horizon from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. In August 2016, the Massachusetts state legislature adopted a comprehensive energy bill that includes a first-of-its-kind mandate to purchase 1,600 MW of offshore wind power over the next ten years. Massachusetts’ procurement process is scheduled to begin in June 2017.   DONG Energy is additionally developing more than 1000 MW of wind farms off the New Jersey coast through permits awarded by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.  The Massachusetts and New Jersey projects foretell the significant scaling up in offshore wind energy development from the 30 MW of wind turbines generating power today off of Block Island, Rhode Island.