By Jeanne Bezerra and Michael Rothenborg
The untapped offshore wind energy potential in the US is estimated by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to be more than 2,000 gigawatts (GW), nearly double the nation’s annual electricity use. Yet the first offshore wind farm in the US was completed just last year off the coast of Rhode Island.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) last week awarded Ramboll and team partners a contract to study this untapped potential within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Offshore Wind Ports & Infrastructure Assessment encompasses a series of tasks, key among them an evaluation of underdeveloped waterfront sites in Massachusetts that could potentially be acquired and developed through private investment to support both near-term and long-term offshore wind activities. The study will yield a series of property assessments to guide offshore wind developers, manufacturers and private investors in their selection of sites to fabricate, manufacture, stage, deploy and service offshore wind components in Massachusetts and along the East Coast.
Project Principal David Lis says, “This is an exciting opportunity, since it literally positions us on the ground floor of a potentially huge transformation within the US energy industry. Ramboll has been a key force in the offshore wind industry in the Nordics and across Europe, so the experience and expertise that we bring to this project and to the industry generally are invaluable.”
The MassCEC study team includes Ramboll, Apex and other local engineering firms; the University of Massachusetts (Boston) Urban Harbors Institute; and Tufts University. The project brings together leading global experts in offshore wind development; experienced Massachusetts-based engineers, and environmental and port professionals with direct knowledge of the project sites in the study area and in the US offshore wind marketplace; world-renowned researchers in port development and offshore wind energy production; and key members of the supply chain that will build the new offshore wind industry in the US.