Beginning with a sonar-carrying vessel combing the floor of Indian River Bay, Ørsted has announced it will resume its evaluation of potential landfall connection sites in the coming weeks.
Ørsted is the Danish-based energy company that has twice been awarded Offshore Renewable Energy Credits by the Maryland Public Service Commission – for Skipjack Wind 1, a 120-megawatt project in 2017; and for Skipjack Wind 2, an 846-megawatt project, in late 2021. Stretching from Rehoboth Beach south to Fenwick Island, the federal waters where Skipjack will be built are due east of Delaware, with the closest portion being about 16 miles offshore.
The company’s first round of surveying the ocean floor began in April 2021 and concluded in January.
In an interview Feb. 14, Brady Walker, Ørsted Mid-Atlantic market manager, said in addition to surveying Indian River Bay, there will be a lift boat within a half-mile of the shoreline at Towers Beach and 3R’s Beach, in Delaware Seashore State Park. The larger lift vessel is expected to begin its work in late March or early April, and it will be taking core samples of the ocean floor, he said.
“It’s important to remember this is not where the turbines will be located,” said Brady. “We are evaluating conditions for possible cable routes.”
Brady said all surveys will be completed before Memorial Day weekend. If surveys cannot be undertaken in that time frame, they may resume in September after Labor Day, he said.
This round of surveying is being done by Ørsted to see what it would take to run a cable from the wind farm to the power plant at the head of the Indian River Bay. However, Brady said, the company is keeping its options open, and no final decisions have been made on landfall for the cable.
Ørsted is projecting Skipjack Wind 1 and 2 will be operating by 2026, which means the company will need to have a land connection site selected soon. Brady said the company is expected to have a decision made on its preferred connection site by the end of the year. Once that happens, he said, there will be a federal regulatory process that’s expected to take 18 to 24 months, which will include plenty of opportunity for public comment.
Also, said Brady, the company itself will provide opportunity for public engagement.
Ørsted provides up-to-date information on the survey vessels in online Mariners Briefings, which can be found at us.orsted.com/wind-projects/mariners.
DNREC seeking offshore wind development consultant
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control issued a request for proposals Feb. 25 seeking professional advisors to provide consulting services relating to offshore wind development.
The notice says the selected consultant will advise and assist DNREC regarding the possible development of offshore wind to serve Delaware and the grid impacts of offshore wind interconnections in Delaware.
More specifically, the notice calls for assisting the state in following up on the findings of the Offshore Wind Working Group report; advising on the findings from the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind report; advising on the analysis of energy markets and rate impacts of offshore wind; identifying the barriers and opportunities involved in developing offshore wind to serve Delaware; advising on transmission issues relating to the development of offshore wind connecting into Delaware and the PJM grid; advising on identifying and implementing possible paths forward for procurement of offshore wind to serve Delaware; reviewing the pertinent laws and regulations governing the development of renewable energy and offshore wind to serve Delaware; and advising on possible legislation relating to renewable energy and offshore wind to serve Delaware.
According to the notice, the deadline to submit a proposal is 1 p.m., Friday, April 15. The expected date for the contract to be awarded is Friday, April 29.