Iberdrola Opens West of Duddon Sands Wind Farm

ScottishPower Renewables, Iberdrola USA’s sister company, has opened its first offshore wind farm, West of Duddon Sands, a 389 MW facility located in the Irish Sea. The $2.6 billion project, located approximately 12.5 miles off the seaport of Barrow-in-Furness in North West England, was completed in conjunction with Dong Energy of Denmark.

“West of Duddon Sands is the first offshore wind farm in the U.K. to use such advanced construction methods,” said Ignacio Galan, Iberdrola chairman during a grand opening ceremony. “The combination of two highly sophisticated installation vessels working in tandem, and the support of the excellent fabrication facilities at Belfast, Northern Ireland, made this one of the most efficient offshore projects ever delivered in the U.K.”

West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farmThe wind farm consists of 108 Siemens turbines that are connected through a 125-mile web of undersea cable in a 26 square mile area of the Irish Sea. The wind farm will produce enough energy to meet the annual electricity demands of nearly 200,000 homes.

“Building the West of Duddon Sands wind farm was a significant engineering challenge,” said Bob Kump, chief corporate officer of Iberdrola USA. “There is value in the achievement beyond the immediate benefits of this project. We will share the knowledge we gained among Iberdrola companies like ours and throughout the industry to help advance the technology and cost competitiveness of future offshore wind projects.”

According to Iberdrola, two big offshore wind energy innovations helped reduce the cost of the project:

  • A new $80 million, custom-designed offshore wind terminal built at Belfast Harbor. The terminal employs up to 300 workers and can operate around the clock for continual delivery of turbine and foundation components to the farm.
  • Two of the world’s largest and most advanced installation vessels: Pacific Orca and Sea Installer. Using the two vessels in tandem enabled construction crews to install all the foundations and turbine components during one of the most stormy winters in recent history.

Energy generated by the project connects to an offshore substation that boosts the voltage then routes it through two export cables to the onshore substation at Heysham where it enters the U.K. national grid.

EU Leaders Lack Climate & Energy Leadership

According to several organizations, although European Union Heads of State agreed upon a climate and energy framework, it fails to provide industrial leadership for Europe. Both Ocean Energy Europe (OEE) and the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) criticized the plan. OEE said the new greenhouse gas emission targets, renewable energy and energy efficiency will do little to capitalize on the security, employment and export potential of new energy sectors including ocean, wind and offshore wind energy. The groups argue the framework put Europe’s future energy security and the country’s position as a global renewable energy and climate leader at risk.

The European Council agreed to a 40 percent binding greenhouse gas emission reduction target, a 27 percent binding, EU-wide renewable energy target, and a 27 percent non-binding, EU-wide energy efficiency target.

Ocean Energy Photo ENE“If the EU is serious about tackling big issues such as energy security, unemployment and climate change, it needs to provide industrial leadership on climate and energy by setting hard and fast targets and reduce its exposure to highly volatile fossil fuel imports,” said Dr Sian George, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe. “Economies across the world will have to transition to low-carbon. By staying ahead of this curve, Europe can tap into massive export and job creation potential. This is as true for the first generation of renewable energy as it will be for the next generations, such as ocean energy technologies.”

In 2009, Europe agreed to climate and energy targets for 2020 helping to bring first-gen renewable energy industries to market in part due to market certainty. The new targets need to be higher, said George, for renewables to move into second generation renewable energy technologies.

Thomas Becker, chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association, said the lower unenforceable targets create market uncertainty and for the wind industry this “clarity” is critical to investors who rely on long-term policies to provide stability.

“The interconnectivity target is bewildering given the current political challenges Europe is facing. We’re in the midst of an energy crisis with Russia holding Member States to ransom over gas supplies,” said Becker. “Yet Heads of State see fit to trot out a meaningless target that will do nothing to improve connection in the Iberian Peninsula or the security of supply in the Baltic States, let alone allow an internal energy market to develop. On GHG reduction, this weakens the position of the EU for the climate talks in Paris next year,” added Becker. “I can’t understand how Member States are going to reach this target and who is guaranteeing that this is not just an empty shell. I can assure you that the other climate negotiators are very good at finding the holes in the cheese.”

Mainstream Renewable to Build Offshore Wind Farm

The Scottish Ministers have given Mainstream Renewable Power the go ahead to build a 450 megawatt Neart na Gaoithe (“NnG”) offshore wind farm in the Outer Forth Estuary in the North Sea. This project will be the first large-scale offshore wind farm in Scottish waters to be directly connected to the grid when complete in 2018. The wind farm will provide 3.7 percent of Scotland’s total electricity demand. The wind farm will consist of up to 75 wind turbines and will occupy an area of approximately 80 square kilometres. At its closest point to land it lies over 15 kilometres off the Fife coast in water depths of 45-55 metres.

The subsea cable transmitting the wind farm’s power will come ashore at Thorntonloch Beach in East Lothian from where its Mainstream Renewable Powerunderground cable will travel along a 12.5 kilometre route to a substation located within the Crystal Rig onshore wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills. Grid connection will occur in December 2016 and planning permission for the route of the underground cable was received from East Lothian Council in 2013.

Mainstream Renewable Power’s founder and Chief Executive, Eddie O’Connor said, “Today’s announcement is of particular importance for Scotland because it is the first time a wind farm will be built in Scottish waters with the purpose of supplying Scottish homes and businesses with renewable energy. In fact, it will generate enough green power to supply more than all the homes in Edinburgh.”

NnG represents a capital expenditure investment of around £1.5 billion and is on track to be the first offshore wind farm in the UK to attract true non-recourse project finance at the construction stage. The project has pre-qualified for the Infrastructure UK Treasury Guarantee and European Investment Bank funding.

“This is of major significance to the global offshore wind industry because it is on track to be the first time an offshore wind farm of this scale will be built using project finance alone by a private company,” said Andy Kinsella, COO for Mainstream Renewable Power. “It is testament to the world-leading expertise of Mainstream’s offshore development team who have been working on this project since the company was founded in 2008 and further underpins Mainstream’s position as the world’s leading independent offshore wind developer.”

Onshore Wind Cheaper Than Coal, Gas, Nuclear

According to an Ecofys study commissioned by the European Commission, generating electricity from onshore wind is cheaper than gas, coal and nuclear when externalities are stacked with the levelised cost of energy and subsides. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) analyzed the report data and determined that onshore wind has an approximate cost of EUR 105 per megawatt hour (MWh). This is less expensive than gas (up to EUR 164), nuclear (EUR 133) and coal (between EUR 162-233). Offshore wind comes in at EUR 186 and solar photovoltaic (PV) has a cost of around EUR 217 per MWh.

ewea-logoThe total cost of energy production, which factors in externalities such as air quality, climate change and human toxicity among others, shows that coal is more expensive than the highest retail electricity price in the EU. The report puts the figure of external costs of the EU’s energy mix in 2012 at between EUR 150 and EUR 310 billion.

Justin Wilkes, deputy chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association, said of the findings, “This report highlights the true cost of Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels. Renewables are regularly denigrated for being too expensive and a drain on the taxpayer. Not only does the Commission’s report show the alarming cost of coal but it also presents onshore wind as both cheaper and more environmentally-friendly.”

EWEA said onshore and offshore wind technologies also have room for significant cost reduction. Coal on the other hand is a fully mature technology and is unlikely to reduce costs any further.

“We are heavily subsidising the dirtiest form of electricity generation while proponents use coal’s supposed affordability as a justification for its continued use,” added Wilkes. “The irony is that coal is the most expensive form of energy in the European Union. This report shows that we should use the 2030 climate and energy package as a foundation for increasing the use of wind energy in Europe to improve our competitiveness, security and environment.”

DNV GL Releases Offshore Wind Manifesto

DNV GL has released its finding of a report, “Offshore wind: a manifesto for cost reduction,” at WindEnergy Hamburg 2014. The offshore wind industry is looking to reduce costs to ensure growth. In response to this need, DNV GL is offering the industry its manifesto for offshore wind cost reduction identifies and quantifies cost reduction opportunities. It also set out a challenge and the company has committed to take action on the issue.

DNV GL Pledges to Help Reduce Offshore Wind Costs by 25%The cost reduction strategies outlined in the manifesto are categorized into three basic types: “Doing it right,” by mitigating risk and increasing certainty; “Doing it better,” by improving the efficiency of existing processes; and “Doing it differently,” by innovating for the future. Working with industry partners, the actions DNV GL commits to in the manifesto have the potential to achieve reductions in the cost of energy of up to 25 percent. According to DNV GL, these savings, combined with trends in other areas such as improved supply chain efficiency, has the potential of delivering a total reduction of 40 percent which is recognized by many stakeholders as the level required to secure the future of the industry.

CEO for DNV GL – Energy, David Walker, said, “This is about securing the future of offshore wind. Achieving cost reduction is about more than just new technology and innovation. It also requires us to get the basics right which means getting people together, assessing the issues in detail and defining best practice. This may be seen as incremental or even unglamorous, but it is exactly what a maturing industry looks like and it is exactly what is required to drive down costs.

“The good news is that we are seeing signs of progress, but we need to do much more as an industry,” added Walker. In this manifesto document, we in DNV GL recognise the role we can play in the cost reduction story – we are committed to helping offshore wind do it right, do it better and do it differently.”

The manifesto document contains 14 specific pledges across a wide range of topics from reducing subsea cable installation risks through to accelerating the commercialization of floating offshore wind technology:

DNV GL Releases Offshore Wind Transmission Guide

DNV GL, together with the Swedish Transmission Research Institute (STRI) and 10 wind industry companies have developed a methodology for technology qualification of offshore High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technologies through a joint industry project.

With the development of wind farms further offshore there is an increasing need for long-distance underwater power transmission. The use of HDVC transmission allows power transmission through cables over longer DNV GL offshore wind transmission guidelinesdistances and higher capacities compared to what is feasible when using AC transmission. To date, though, companies have little experience using HVDC transmission technologies and as such, there are no relevant standard, guidelines or recommendations for its successful use.

Peter Vaessen, segment director future transmission grids at DNV GL said of the new guidelines, “Implementation of new technology always introduces uncertainties that imply risk for its developers, manufacturers and end-users. With this technology qualification, we enable our customers to provide the evidence that the technology used will function within the specified limits with an acceptable level of confidence. Customers can ensure that each step is agreed in advance with the technology provider and the buyer, whilst delivering projects on time.”

As a means to manage the technology risks associated with offshore HVDC transmission projects, the new recommended practice is based on DNV GL’s methodology for technology qualification, which has been used extensively for managing technology risks in the oil and gas industry for more than a decade. Technology qualification is a method for providing evidence that technical equipment will function within specified operational limits with an acceptable level of confidence, both for suppliers and buyers of the relevant equipment.

Companies that participated during the testing process included: ABB, Alstom Grid, DONG Energy, Elia, Europacable, Scottish Power, Statkraft, Statnett, Statoil, Svenska Kraftnät and Vattenfall.

Wind Power Growth Surging Where Supported

According to Worldwatch Research Associate Mark Konold and Climate and Energy Intern Xiangyu Wu, double-digit growth continued in the global wind market in 2013. In the latest Vital Signs, the writers state that there are 318 GW of wind capacity online today with 35 GW added in 2013. However, the growth was a significant drop from the average growth rate over the last 10 years (21%). In addition, overall investment declined slightly from $80.9 billion in 2012 to $80.3 billion in 2013.

In 2013, offshore wind capacity continued to see growth as projects became larger and moved into deeper waters. Until recently, deep-water offshore wind has developed on foundations adapted from the oil and gas industry, but deeper waters and harsher weather have become formidable challenges requiring newly designed equipment. Shipbuilders are expanding to make larger vessels to transport bigger equipment and longer and larger subsea cables to more-distant offshore projects.

wind_power_figure_1_0It’s these trends, write the authors, that have kept prices high in recent years. As of early 2014, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for offshore wind power-which includes the cost of the plant’s full operational and financial life-was up to nearly $240 per megawatt-hour (MWh). By comparison, the LCOE of onshore wind installations in various regions of the world is under $150 per MWh, having fallen about 15 percent between 2009 and early 2014.

According to the authors, onshore, wind-generated power is becoming more cost-competitive against new coal- or gas-fired plants, even without incentives and support schemes. Over the past few years, capital costs of wind power have decreased because of large technological advances such as larger machines with increased power yield, higher hub height, longer blades, and greater nameplate capacity (which indicates the maximum output of a wind turbine).

Tighter competition among manufacturers continues to drive down capital costs, and the positioning of the world’s top manufacturers continues to shift. The top 10 turbine manufacturers captured nearly 70 percent of the global market in 2013, down from 77 percent the year before.

In addition, the writers found that in an effort to maintain profitability, manufacturers are trying new strategies, such as moving away from just manufacturing turbines. Some companies focus more on project operation and maintenance, which guarantees a steady business even during down seasons and can increase overall value in an increasingly competitive market. Some manufacturers are also turning to outsourcing and flexible manufacturing, which can lower overall costs and protect firms from exchange rate changes, customs duties, and logistical issues associated with shipping large turbines and parts.

Offshore Wind Fastest Growing Power Sector in Europe

Offshore wind energy development in Europe is the fastest growing power sector with 4.9 GW of new capacity under construction according to the European Wind Energy (EWEA). The 4.9 GW will be comprised of 16 commercial offshore wind farms under construction.

EWEA 2014 Statistics ReportDuring the first six months of 2014, 224 new offshore wind turbines totaling 781 megawatts were fully connected tot the grid. This is 25 percent less than during the same period in 2013. However, there are 282 wind turbines installed that have not been connected to the grid during the first six months. Once connected, this will add an additional 1,200 MW of offshore wind energy capacity.

“Despite offshore wind power installations being lower than in the first six months of last year, it remains the fastest growing power sector in Europe” said Justin Wilkes, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at EWEA. “However, despite significant financing activity in the first half of the year, the contraction in installations we have witnessed in these first six months, may well continue into 2015 and 2016.”

“To ensure healthy growth in the latter part of the decade, and to ensure offshore wind energy plays its role in meeting the EU’s competitiveness, security, renewable and climate objectives, the industry must be given longer-term visibility,” Wilkes continued. “An ambitious deal on the 2030 Climate and Energy package by the EU’s Heads of State in October would send the right signal, making their decision particularly important for the offshore wind sector,” he concluded.

Total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe is now 7,343 MW in 73 wind farms across 11 countries, capable of producing 27 TWh of electricity, enough to meet the needs of over 7 million households – or the entire population of the Netherlands.

New England Coast Offshore Wind Leases Available

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank joined Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to announce more than 742,000 acres offshore Massachusetts will be available for commercial wind energy leasing. The proposed area is the largest in federal waters and will nearly double the federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects.

“Massachusetts is leading the way toward building a clean and sustainable energy future that creates jobs, cuts carbon pollution and develops domestic clean energy resources,” said Secretary Jewell. “Thanks to Governor Patrick’s vision and leadership, the competitive lease sale in Massachusetts will reflect the extensive and productive input from a number of important stakeholders. This includes interests such as commercial fishing, shipping, cultural, historical, environmental, and local communities to minimize conflicts and bring clarity and certainty to potential wind energy developers.”

Mass Wind Energy AreaThe Massachusetts Wind Energy Area is located approximately 12 miles offshore Massachusetts – from its northern boundary, the area extends 33 nautical miles southward and has an east/west extent of approximately 47 nautical miles. BOEM proposes to auction the Wind Energy Area as four leases.

“Today’s announcement is a momentous occasion and the culmination of years of cooperation and hard work between the Commonwealth and federal officials,” said Governor Patrick. “Through our investments and proactive planning, Massachusetts is poised to lead the charge in offshore wind energy development, with the economic and environmental benefits that come with it.”

The Interior’s is working to develop a sustainable offshore wind program through its ‘Smart from the Start’ wind energy initiative for the Atlantic Coast. To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). The competitive lease sales have generated about $5.4 million in high bids for about 277,550 acres in federal waters. BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Maryland and New Jersey later this year.

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been working hand in hand with BOEM to foster responsible commercial wind development in federal waters off Massachusetts,” said BOEM Acting Director Cruickshank. “Members of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Task Force have been great partners in our planning process for the Wind Energy Area and the Proposed Sale Notice.”

In response to the announcement, Conservation Law Foundation, who is working to advance responsibly sited offshore wind energy, said, “This is a meaningful leap forward for New England and the nation to seize the unparalleled renewable energy opportunity of offshore wind,” said Sue Reid, Vice President of Conservation Law Foundation and Director, CLF Massachusetts. “Because of the sheer scale of offshore wind energy’s potential, it has unmatched ability to displace the dirtiest and costliest energy generation on the grid. It is an essential building block of our clean energy future—one that can deliver wide-ranging environmental and public health benefits while boosting our regional economy.”

Maryland Energy Admin Releases Wind Energy Survey

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has released a report detailing a high-resolution geophysical and oceanographic survey of the entire Maryland Wind Energy Area. The survey, focused on opportunities for offshore wind development, is believed by MEA to be the first by any state to map the seafloor geology of a complete Wind Energy Area. This information is critical to optimizing the siting, design and layout of an offshore wind project.

MEA Offshore Wind Energy AreaMEA contracted with Coastal Planning & Engineering to pilot the Scarlett Isabella along lines set 150 feet apart, over 1,500 nautical miles. The team gathered data characterizing the depth, seafloor conditions and seabed geology, as well as looking for submerged cultural resources such as shipwrecks.

MEA Director Abigail Ross Hopper said of the report launch, “MEA is excited to issue this groundbreaking report on our geophysical survey campaign. The data we are making available will reduce the risks and costs of offshore wind energy development, protect the marine environment, and contribute to our scientific understanding of the oceans off our coast.”

This report outlines the physical environment of the Wind Energy Area, including the composition of geological layers, the location and nature of hazards, and distribution of cultural resources. The project trained students at University of Maryland Eastern Shore to serve as federally certified Protected Species Observers on the mission, ensuring that marine mammals and other protected species were not impacted, while providing students with skills in high demand. Teams of scientists from University of Maryland Baltimore County deployed LIDAR, weather balloons and other tools to gather valuable data for refining power production and climate models of the Wind Energy Area.

Alstom’s Team Awarded DOE Offshore Wind Grant

Alstom is part of a team awarded a $47M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for phase II of the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP) led by Dominion Virginia Power. This next phase includes the completion of Front End Engineering Design (FEED), installation and testing of two Alstom Haliade 150-6MW (megawatt) offshore wind turbines approximately 24 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Alstom Wind TurbineAlstom says the award strengthens the long-standing partnership with Dominion and advances their common goals to improve the competitiveness of offshore wind in the U.S. The team will explore innovative approaches to optimize turbine and balance of plant designs while addressing environmental conditions including hurricanes, transportation and installation strategies, and operations and maintenance (O&M) methodologies. The group, which includes the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), among others, is one of three teams selected to receive funding for phase two of the project.

“After successful and highly collaborative completion of the initial Front End Engineering Design we are looking forward to implementing this innovative and challenging project with our strategic partner Dominion and the other world class members of the team,” said Andy Geissbuehler, head of Alstom’s North American Wind business. “We are getting closer to the DOE goal of providing clean, affordable offshore wind energy to homes and businesses throughout the East Coast.”

Alstom’s Haliade 150-6MW offshore wind turbine is engineered to achieve the goals and objectives outlined by VOWTAP. It’s 150-meter rotor contributes dramatically to reducing the cost of offshore wind power while the direct drive permanent magnet generator and the Alstom Pure Torque technology increase reliability, availability, and efficiency.

VOWTAP is one of several offshore wind R&D programs led by the DOE that Alstom is collaborating on. This month a team led by Alstom was awarded an additional $3.4M by the DOE for phase II of its program to develop, test and validate advanced control technologies and integrated sensors for offshore wind turbines.

DOE Announces Offshore Wind Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced funding for three offshore wind demonstrations. The projects will receive up to $47 million each over the next four years to deploy innovative, grid- connected systems in federal and state waters by 2017. The projects are located off the coast of New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon.

twisted jacket formation for offshore wind energyFishermen’s Energy will install five 5-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines approximately three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. This project will utilize an U.S.-developed twisted jacket foundation that is simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install than traditional offshore wind foundations.

Dominion Virginia Power will install two 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, utilizing a U.S.-designed twisted jacket foundation. Dominion’s project will demonstrate installation, operation and maintenance methods for wind turbines located far from shore. Additionally, the Dominion project will install and test a hurricane-resilient design.

Principle Power will install five 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon. The U.S.-developed WindFloat semi-submersible floating foundation will be installed in water more than 1,000 feet deep, demonstrating a solution for deep water wind turbine projects and lowering costs by simplifying installation and eliminating the need for highly specialized ships.

The Energy Department’s efforts to advance innovative offshore wind technologies support the Obama Administration’s comprehensive National Offshore Wind Strategy to develop a sustainable, world-class offshore wind industry. As part of that strategy, the Energy Department continues to work with partners across the government, including the Department of the Interior, to conduct resource assessments, streamline siting and permitting, and overcome technical and market challenges to installation, operations, and grid connection.

Deepwater Wind Unveils Right Whale Protection Agreement

An historic offshore wind energy announcement was made today that will help to protect the right whale while development occurs of an offshore wind farm known as the Deepwater ONE Offshore wind farm. The project is being developed off the coast of Rhode Island and North American Right WhaleMassachusetts coasts, an area where the endangered right whale is frequently seen. With less than 500 right whales believed to be alive, they are highly endangered and can become confused due to underwater sounds caused by noise from the vessels doing the pre-construction site activities. The noise also impacts the right whale’s ability to communicate.

A coalition of leading environmental and conservation organizations — Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) — and Deepwater Wind today announced an agreement to implement additional protections that will minimize potential impacts on North Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals from underwater noise and construction vessels during the developer’s site characterization and assessment activities.

“We take our responsibility to be a national leader in responsible offshore wind development very seriously, and ensuring marine mammals are protected is just one way we’re fulfilling our commitment,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind during a press call this morning.

Deepwater Wind reached another similar agreement in the Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy areas (the area where the Cape Wind project is in development) and has committed to tailoring its business to protect marine animals in every area it develops a project.

Click here to listen to the media call:Historic Offshore Wind Right Whale Protection Agreement

Deepwater Wind in July 2013 acquired a 30-year lease to develop the Deepwater ONE project in the Rhode Island-Massachusetts Wind Energy Area, located in Rhode Island Sound, after winning the first-ever competitive lease auction for offshore wind energy development in America. The lease area covers approximately 256 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 30 miles east of Montauk, N.Y. and roughly 17 miles south of Rhode Island, between Block Island, R.I., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

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Cape Wind Secures Another Legal Victory

Cape Wind has won another legal battle. Once completed, the project will be the first offshore wind farm in U.S waters. Federal Judge Richard Stearns dismissed the lawsuit that challenged Cape Wind’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with NSTAR. The District Court’s decision rejected all claims against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, NSTAR and Cape Wind.

Judge Stearns noted in his decision that the lawsuit would violate the 11th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that gives states immunity from being sued for past actions in Federal Court. Judge Stearns also rejected the premise of the opponents’ lawsuit: “The allegation that DPU dictated that NSTAR procure power from Cape Wind at a specified price is misleading and ultimately untrue.” While Judge Stearns identified the 11th Amendment as sufficient grounsplash_picds to dismiss the lawsuit, he noted it could also have been dismissed on various other grounds.

Judge Stearns concluded his Decision by observing: “But in this case, the Governor, the Legislature, the relevant public agencies, and numerous courts have reviewed and approved the project and the PPA with NSTAR and have done so according to and within the confines of the law. There comes a point at which the right to litigate can become a vexatious abuse of the democratic process. For that reason, I have dealt with this matter as expeditiously as possible.”

Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said, “This important legal victory provides further momentum for Cape Wind to secure project financing and produce the energy, economic and environmental benefits to the region and the United States by launching a domestic offshore wind industry.”

Bill Koch, Chairman and largest funder of the opposition group, and a coal and petroleum coke billionaire, has stated publicly that his organization’s strategy is “delay, delay, delay” and to try to use the courts to serve his strategy. Taxpayers have had to bear a considerable cost of staff time at agencies and courts defending against Koch’s litigation. Continue reading

Siemens Invests in Offshore Wind Manufacturing in UK

Siemens to Build Major Offshore Wind Manufacturing Site in the UKSiemens will be investing £160 million (EUR190m) in wind turbine production and installation facilities in Yorkshire (UK). The facility will be spread across two sites including the Green Port Hull project construction, assembly and service facility and a new rotor blade manufacturing facility in nearby Paull, in East Riding. Siemens’ port partner Associated British Ports (ABP) is investing a further £150 million in the Green Port Hull development. The investment will provide a huge boost to the UK’s offshore wind industry and the Humber region.

“This is a massive vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan,” said Prime Minister David Cameron. This investment is going to create lots of new jobs and opportunities, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families and a more resilient economy for our country.”

The Green Port Hull project has been in development for nearly four years and is the product of an effort between many national and local political, business and community parties and many people within Siemens in the UK, Denmark and Germany, and ABP. The investment is a landmark moment for the UK offshore wind industry. It is the first manufacturing plant of its kind for Siemens next generation blade technology (IntegralBlade) designed for Siemens SWT-6.0-154 6 megawatt (MW) wind turbine. Each rotor blade is 75 meters long and when rotating covers an area the size of two and a half football pitches.

“Our decision to construct a production facility for offshore wind turbines in England is part Siemens to Build Major Offshore Wind Manufacturing Site in the UKof our global strategy: we invest in markets with reliable conditions that can ensure that factories can work to capacity,” said Michael Suess, member of the managing board of Siemens AG and CEO of the Energy Sector. “The British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. In particular, it recognizes the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production.”

Suess continued, “The offshore wind market in Great Britain has high growth rates, with an even greater potential for the future. Wind power capacity has doubled here within two years, to roughly 10 gigawatts. By 2020, a capacity of 14 gigawatts is to be installed at sea alone to combine the country’s environmental objectives with secure power supply. Projects for just over 40 gigawatts are currently in the long-term planning.”

Green Port Hull is planned to be operational to meet Round 3 requirements in early 2016. The start of production at the blade factory is scheduled to be in the middle of 2016 with full production levels reached from mid 2017 onwards.