Delaware officials have presented a report to Governor John Carney and other state lawmakers that explores offshore wind procurement for the state. It includes recommendations on maintaining flexibility, minimizing environmental impacts, and potential areas for wind power development.
The report, Proposed Offshore Wind Procurement Strategy for Delaware, reviews changing conditions in the offshore wind industry, identifies key factors in considering the development of an offshore wind program, highlights important developments looming in 2024 that will affect planning, and offers recommendations on how to structure an offshore wind procurement strategy to meet Delaware’s needs.
“This report provides the background, current economic conditions, and options for the Governor and state legislators to consider as Delaware charts its path forward in the development of a comprehensive offshore wind program,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.
Recommendations in the report include adopting legislation authorizing the procurement of offshore wind, and additional stipulations for the proposed procurement plan. DNREC said the procurement plan should include as much flexibility as possible for changing industry conditions, and should include possible partnerships with neighboring states on procurement, transmission, and supply chain development.
“The strategic value of offshore wind for Delaware is underscored by the fact that there are not
many other options available for delivering sufficient renewable energy at the scale that will be needed to
meet the state’s renewable energy goals,” the report said.
In the report, DNREC notes that its proposals come at a time of “considerable uncertainty” in the offshore wind industry. It tasked Synapse Energy Economics with performing benefit-cost and macroeconomic impact analyses of a hypothetical 800 MW project.
The report also explored areas where potential wind farms could be located. Delaware’s Renewable Energy Standards Portfolio Act specifies that renewable energy resources be “located within or imported into the PJM region,” the report said, meaning farms off the coast of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, or northeast North Carolina could be eligible.
DNREC mentioned BOEM’s new proposed lease sale in the mid-Atlantic, which includes one area offshore the states of Delaware and Maryland, and one area offshore the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, the report cites Oceantic Network, an offshore wind business advocacy group, which says the area is “insufficient to meet Maryland and North Carolina’s offshore wind goals individually and collectively and would leave little room for states like Delaware to enter the offshore wind industry.”
DNREC said it has been engaged in BOEM’s Wind Energy Area (WEA) planning process and has expressed Delaware’s interests in expanding the availability of WEAs that can be connected to PJM territory.