News roundup: Massachusetts's offshore wind terminal, Iowa's Wind Resource Center, American-made cables for Cape Wind

17 March 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

With the new week comes great news from across the country, including a state of the art offshore wind terminal in Massachusetts, a new DOE wind center in Iowa, and American-made transmission cables for Cape Wind.

New Bedford, Massachusetts, has embraced its role as an offshore power hub in the Northeast, recently reinforced with progress on its new marine terminal, built to accommodate offshore wind components:

  • Massachusetts and the city of New Bedford are eager to get out in front for potentially substantial economic returns. Construction of the state-financed $100 million New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal began in April 2013 and is expected to be completed in December. The multipurpose facility is intended as a hub for assembly and deployment of turbines for offshore wind projects.
  • “The terminal can handle the extraordinarily heavy components for offshore wind turbines,” said Bill White, director of offshore wind-sector development for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a quasi-state agency. “Some of the components weigh up to 500 tons, like the bottom part of the foundation, the pieces that get driven into the sea floor.”
  • In the longer term, Massachusetts is anticipating the wind-energy industry to grow substantially as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management continues to lease federal offshore sites for wind farms.

A site in Iowa has been chosen for a new Department of Energy Wind Resource Center, one of six to be built around the country:

  • The resource center will facilitate regional collaboration and sharing of best practices in wind energy development for a 10-state region that includes Iowa. It will disseminate information about the economic benefits of wind energy to the region, expand and preserve access to quality regional wind resources and communicate with stakeholder groups to ensure accurate and reliable information about wind energy development, according to a release from the Iowa Wind Energy Association.
  • Mike Prior, the association's interim executive director, said a location for the center and a number of other details probably won't be determined until May.
  • The award was made from a proposal submitted by the Iowa Wind Energy Association, Windustry and Wind Utility Consulting, with sponsorship from the Iowa Energy Center.  Matching contributions, both cash and in-kind, will be provided by the participating organizations, and the program is expected to become self-sustaining after the initial three-year period.

Cape Wind has signed two contracts with American companies for the transmission cables necessary to connect the proposed offshore wind farm to the grid:

  • Prysmian Cables and Systems USA of South Carolina will make the onshore transmission cables that will connect Cape Wind to an NStar substation in Barnstable, Cape Wind said in a statement on Thursday. Underwater cables, meanwhile, will be installed by Caldwell Marine International, which is based in New Jersey.
  • The deals are the latest of several announcements that the long-awaited Cape Wind has made about supplier contracts or financing in the last several months.
  • The $2.5 billion project has been in the works for more than a decade. So far, the company has secured $900 million in financing, including a $600 million loan from EKF, the Danish Export Credit Agency, that was announced in late February.

Sources:

Rhonda J. Miller, “N.B. marine terminal key to wind-energy race.” Providence Business News. 17 March 2014.

Joe Gardyasz, “Iowa to participate in regional wind center project.” Business Record. 14 March 2014.

Erin Ailworth, “Cape Wind signs contracts for transmission cables.” The Boston Globe. 13 March 2014.