As the United States finally gives the go-ahead for its first major offshore wind farm, regulatory certainty will be key to the success of the industry on the Eastern Seaboard, according to Wood Thilsted.
The geotechnical and structural specialists, who, together with WSP USA, are providing the detailed design for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project off the Massachusetts’ coast, also state that optimal design of primary steel monopile foundations will be crucial to the viability and growth of this opportunity-rich sector.
The Vineyard Wind project, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), will add 800 MW of clean renewable power to America’s current offshore output of just 42MW. It is also expected to create around 3,600 jobs and provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses.
Hiram Mechling, associate director and vice president of Wood Thilsted USA, commented: “The approval for Vineyard is a giant leap forward for the industry, the USA and decarbonizing the planet – but we need regulatory certainty to accelerate the industry so that it can stand on its own two feet.
“The constantly changing regulatory oversight of this project, which delayed the final layout, has demanded that Wood Thilsted be extremely flexible and adaptable. We enjoy the challenge, but we now need to stop the day-to-day unknowns and the constantly moving goalposts. This will allow us to fully focus on decreasing LCOE (Levelized Cost of Energy) for the offshore wind industry through optimized designs that require less steel and less pile penetration.”
He added: “The lessons we all learn from executing this first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the U S will help pave the way for what promises to be very exciting times ahead. Regulatory certainty is key to realizing that future”.