Connecticut for Offshore Wind

Offshore wind is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and turning the tide on climate change—while also creating new opportunities for green collar jobs. Recognizing the potential for offshore wind, Connecticut has begun a significant procurement for 2,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind energy, which would be enough to power 1 million homes. With the Biden Administration’s renewed focus on addressing climate change, the region has an opportunity to capitalize on the work we have already done to prepare for a clean energy future.

Offshore Wind’s Progress in Connecticut

Governor Ned Lamont ran on a platform of clean energy and environmental protection—and he made realizing these goals one of his top priorities. In June of 2019, he signed Public Act 19-71 into law, ordering the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to procure 2,000 MW of offshore wind energy. He also issued Executive Order No. 3 calling for Connecticut to transition to 100% zero-carbon energy by 2040.

Connecticut has two active offshore wind projects in development. Revolution Wind is a 704 MW joint procurement with Rhode Island, with staging operations to be based out of New London. Park City Wind is an 804 MW project with a base of operations to be developed in Bridgeport.

The state is investing $93 million to redevelop State Pier in New London through a private public partnership. This investment will upgrade the infrastructure of State Pier for wind turbine generator assembly. The New London pier will also be used to support construction activities for two New York projects: South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind.

Connecticut has also created a Commission on Environmental Standards to ensure the construction and operation of new offshore wind facilities will not be detrimental to our marine environment, wildlife or fisheries. The Commission submitted robust recommendations for the first round of procurements and anticipates an active role as Park City Wind moves forward and the state issues future solicitations for offshore wind.

Future Investments

Connecticut’s 2020 Integrated Resources Plan recognizes the need for larger quantities of new clean energy resources—particularly offshore wind—to meet Connecticut’s zero-carbon target. However, the IRP recommends deferring additional offshore wind procurements until 2023 at the earliest. Advocates will be working to ensure that Connecticut’s procurement process achieves robust deployments of the renewable resources the state needs to meet our clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The Governor’s Council on Climate Change recently issued a number of recommendations related to offshore wind as part of its review of the state’s climate policies. Among these recommendations were:

  • Using competitive bidding processes that drive down prices
  • Establishing clear targets for offshore wind
  • Doubling the offshore wind procurement mandate (up to 4,000 MW by 2030).
  • Requiring robust protections for endangered species and requiring wildlife habitat monitoring before, during, and after construction.

While the details of the future may be uncertain, one thing is clear – offshore wind will soon power much of Connecticut.

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