Pre-conference Offshore Wind Workshop

Ready for Commercial Lift-off: U.S. Offshore Wind Joins Solar, Storage in Decarbonization Efforts

DATE: Tuesday, February 18, 2020
10:00 am - 4:30 pm
PRICE: $395 National SEIA/SEPA Members | $495 Non-members
Please note: Registration for this workshop is separate from Full Conference registration. You may register for this workshop independently. 


When it comes to decarbonization, solar is only one piece of the puzzle. Comprehensive solutions require participation from across the renewable energy spectrum, including offshore wind. And today, the U.S. offshore wind industry is experiencing incredible momentum.

In 2016, the nation’s first offshore wind farm was commissioned off Block Island, Rhode Island, for a total of 30 MW of power. As of now, offshore wind projects totaling over 3,000 MW of capacity are contracted to provide electricity in eight states on the Eastern seaboard. Furthermore, the auction of three lease areas off the coast of Massachusetts in 2018 brought in more than $400 million alone!

With this market visibility, and ever-decreasing costs, the offshore wind industry is truly ready for commercial lift-off in the United States and provides yet another option to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.

Attendees of this workshop will hear from leaders in the offshore wind sector, government officials, existing ocean users, environmental advocates, cross-sector allies, and other experts discuss the diverse opportunities and challenges of U.S. offshore wind development.

Workshop Partner

Workshop Schedule

Time Session Information  
Time TBD*

Forecasting New England’s Energy Future


Aileen Kenney, Principal, BASK Energy, LLC

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Offshore wind is a new and rapidly growing segment of the U.S. energy sector. Increased demand in state procurements and evolving state and federal policies will add approximately 20,000 MW of renewable offshore wind power to East Coast energy markets by 2030. Solar energy is similarly abundant in New England states, and ISO-NE anticipates 6,700 MW of nameplate PV capacity by 2028. How do these two renewable energy sources complement each other? How do solar and offshore wind energy fit into the broader energy portfolio of the region? What does New England’s energy landscape look like for the next 10, 20, or 30 years? This panel discussion dives deeper into forecasting New England’s energy future. To help answer these questions, we will hear from the authorities on the subject, including utilities, regional transmission operators, and experts from the financial world.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm* Networking Lunch  
Time TBD*

U.S. Floating Wind Development: East Coast Pursuits

Mike Olsen, Senior Director, Business Development, Equinor New Energy Solutions

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Close to 80% of the world’s best offshore wind resource potential is in waters that are too deep for traditional wind turbines. As a result, the strongest, most consistent winds in the world have largely been untapped. The emergence of floating wind technology opens up new areas of the ocean that were once off-limits to development. And since the world’s first floating offshore wind farm – Equinor’s Hywind project - came online in 2017, we are getting closer to development of commercial-scale floating wind projects. This is not only good news for the U.S. West Coast, but also the Eastern Seaboard, where states like Maine and New Hampshire must deploy floating wind structures to harness the winds off their coasts. This panel discussion will focus on the various floating wind technologies currently deployed, the benefits of implementing floating wind structures versus fixed-bottom turbines, a discussion of the experience developers of floating wind farms are having in California, costs and other challenges associated with developing floating wind projects, and the opportunities that exist for this technology on the East Coast.
Time TBD* QuickTalk with Jim Bennett, Program Manager, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Renewable Energy Program  
Time TBD*

Permitting Offshore Wind Projects from the Developers’ Perspectives


Bryan Stockton, Counsel, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP

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U.S. offshore wind development has been debated for the last two decades, and so far, only 30 MW have been installed off the coast of Block Island, RI. However, in recent years, states on the East Coast have advanced aggressive offshore wind energy procurement policies, with a current demand of over 26 GW. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the lead federal agency on offshore wind development and has two primary roles. First, as most commercial scale projects will be built several miles offshore, in federal waters, BOEM is in charge of the leasing process for offshore wind development sites. Second, BOEM is the lead agency on project permitting and coordinates the federal permitting process with the other federal agencies. However, many other federal, state and/or local agencies have important roles in the offshore wind permitting process that could either smooth the way for or delay the interconnection of these projects to the grid. This panel discussion will focus on the offshore wind permitting process through the eyes of the developers. The panel will discuss the various federal and local approvals that need to come together to complete a project. From the developers’ perspective, what are some policies currently in place that are helping to hasten construction of these projects? What are some changes that could be made to streamline the project development process?
2:30 pm - 3:00 pm* Networking Break  
Time TBD* QuickTalk with Jon Mitchell, Mayor of New Bedford, MA  
Time TBD*

Updates from the States


Francis Pullaro, Executive Director, RENEW-NE

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Eight East Coast states – from Maine to Virginia – are proceeding with firm plans for the development, and in most cases procurement, of offshore wind power. And most of those states have signed contracts with developers to provide electricity to their residents. Whereas just one year ago the pipeline of offshore wind farms was approximately 10 GW, today it stands at over 26 GW. The coming offshore wind farms will power more than 15 million homes, generate more than $100 billion in private investment, and create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. This panel discussion will focus on the progress many Northeast states have made toward procuring offshore wind power, efforts underway to ensure coexistence with other ocean users, public-private investments made to upgrade ports and infrastructure in those first-moving states, and what we can expect next.

 *Schedule times are subject to change