Connecticut Approves Offshore Wind Boost

Increases State Target to 2 Gigawatts

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has authorized the development of increased offshore wind capacity, setting the stage for an uptick in offshore breakbulk activity in the state.

Passage of House Bill 7156 substantially increased the state's offshore wind procurement target, from 300 megawatts to 2 gigawatts. The approval follows final legislative approval from the State Senate last week for Department of Energy and Environmental Protection plans to initiate request for proposal processes.

“Connecticut should be the central hub of the offshore wind industry in New England. This emerging industry has the potential to create hundreds of good paying jobs for the residents of our state and drive economic growth in towns along our shoreline,” Lamont said.

The legislation allows the state to purchase up to 30 percent of state load.

Major Player

The plans are among the largest authorization by load of any state in the region and Lamont expects this could help the offshore sector grow rapidly.

Under the proposed legislation, the state and DEEP will develop best management practices to reduce impacts to wildlife, natural resources, ecosystems and commercial fishing during the construction and operation of facilities.

“By adopting this new law, we are sending a clear message – Connecticut is serious about becoming a major player in the clean energy economy,” Lamont added. “By delivering zero carbon renewable energy, we can increase our region’s fuel security while also making significant progress toward meeting our climate goals.”

Fast-tracked Permits

Last year, the Trump administration voiced its support for increased energy leases in federal waters and streamlined permitting for new wind farms. This included fast-tracking of the permit process for new wind farms that is expected to drive new breakbulk demand from the sector.

Of particular interest has been the heavily populated U.S. Northeast, where the White House hopes relaxed regulation will help to drive manufacturing jobs fabricating turbines, towers and other components. In line with this ambition, the nearby state of New Jersey s considering construction of an additional offshore wind capacity of up to 12.5 gigawatts, according to the state's draft energy master plan.

“Combined with the NJ Offshore Wind Strategic Plan draft plan due in September and the state’s first offshore wind solicitation award later this month, the draft EMP demonstrates New Jersey’s short-term and long-term planning and commitment to offshore wind energy,” said Liz Burdock, CEO of U.S. Business Network for Offshore Wind.