Several states on the U.S. east coast are shifting power generation towards renewable energy. Texas’ successful wind power sector is the largest of any state in the country. It could soon serve as an offshore wind model for New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and other eastern states.
One challenge confronting these states is the lack of energy transmission capacity. East coast states have set a goal of expanding offshore wind generation by 29 gigawatts over 15 years. Major global players have indicated their interest in building large-scale offshore wind farms. But connecting these new power sources to the grid will require a huge infrastructure expansion.
A recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission conference discussed offshore wind. The conference emphasized the need to find a model to share the cost of infrastructure buildout. This model would enable offshore wind installations to reach their full potential.
Stuart Nachmias, CEO of the transmission unit of New York utility Con Edison, summed up the problem in his opening remarks. Nachmias told the conference, “The current ‘generator-lead’ approach that states have used to date is unsustainable.” This current approach involves individual offshore wind projects and purchasers funding the building of transmission corridors.