U.S. Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council granted approval on Thursday for the construction of a $1.5 billion offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. The venture, known as the Revolution Wind project, is a collaboration between Danish company Orsted and U.S.-based Eversource. Once operational, the wind farm is poised to contribute a substantial 704 megawatts (MW) of clean energy to the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Adding to the momentum in offshore wind energy, another noteworthy project by the same energy developers, the South Fork wind farm off the coast of New York, marked a milestone by delivering its inaugural power to the state's power grid on Wednesday.
The Biden administration has been actively prioritizing offshore wind development as part of its clean energy initiatives. However, challenges such as escalating costs due to rising inflation, increased interest rates, and disruptions in supply chains have raised concerns about the feasibility of achieving the administration's ambitious goal of bringing 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power online by 2030.
The industry has witnessed several setbacks, with many developers opting to cancel or renegotiate power purchase contracts. This decision stems from previously agreed-upon prices that were deemed too low to justify the necessary investments.
In a specific instance, the Rhode Island utility took a stance in March by rejecting Orsted's proposal for the second stage of the Revolution Wind project, known as Revolution Wind 2, citing concerns about the potential high cost burden on consumers. This move underscores the delicate balance between advancing renewable energy goals and addressing economic considerations within the evolving landscape of offshore wind development.