Vineyard Wind stops COP after GE turbine selection
Vineyard Wind, the developer behind the first major US-based offshore wind farm, has temporarily withdrawn its Construction and Operations Plan (COP) from further review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to conduct final due diligence.
The move comes after it selected GE as its preferred supplier of wind turbine generators for its Vineyard Wind 1 project.
In a statement, the joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has decided to utilise GE Renewable Energy’s industry leading Haliade-X wind turbine generators – the most powerful in operation to date – for its project, the first utility-scale offshore wind installation in the United States.
“The selection of GE as our preferred turbine supplier means that a historic American company will play a vital role in the development of the first commercial scale offshore wind power in the US,” says Vineyard Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen.
“This is a huge moment not only for the future of our project, but also for the future of an industry that is poised for exponential growth in the coming decades.”
With this selection, GE Renewable Energy will be playing a pivotal role in the development of offshore wind power in the US, which will be a major source of investments and job creation up and down the supply chain in communities across the region.
“GE Renewable Energy is proud to partner with Vineyard Wind for the first major offshore wind project in the US,” says John Lavelle, President & CEO, Offshore Wind at GE Renewable Energy. “To be selected as the preferred supplier is an important sign of confidence for our proven technology and for all our employees around the world. We look forward to making this important contribution to the growth of offshore wind in the US.”
Following the agreement, the decision from Vineyard Wind to temporarily withdraw its COP from further review by BOEM was formally communicated to the Bureau, the statement adds. The move will all the project team to conduct a final technical review associated with the inclusion of the Haliade-X wind turbine generator into the final project design, Pedersen says.
“While the decision to pause the ongoing process was difficult, taking this step now avoids potentially more federal delays and we are convinced it will provide the shortest overall timeline for delivering the project as planned,” continues Pedersen. “We intend to restart the BOEM process from where we left off as soon as we complete the final review.”
The company adds that it expects the review to take several weeks, after which it will resume the Federal permitting process with BOEM. With buffer built into the project schedule, Vineyard Wind says that it still expects to reach financial close in the second half of 2021, and to begin delivering clean energy to the state of Massachusetts in 2023.
Vineyard Wind 1 is an 800MW project 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, which is slated to become the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the US. The project will generate cost-competitive electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million tons per year.
Lightsource bp’s first Spanish project powers up in Zaragoza
Lightsource bp has powered up its 247MW flagship solar project Vendimia in Zaragoza, Spain.
Around 615,000 bifacial solar panels have been installed, over 650 hectares of land on multi-row tracker technology enabling the panels to follow the sun, maximising energy generation efficiency. In addition, two overhead transmission lines at 18km and 20km were constructed to efficiently deliver the solar power into the local network.
The five-project cluster was constructed safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and commercial operation recently began. The total power output will be supplied to bp’s European power trading team under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Fernando Roger, Country Head for Lightsource bp Spain, said the connection of its Vendimia project demonstrates the resilience of solar. "We had to face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but our team and trusted partners remained focussed, and now we have completed our first project in Spain. We would also like to extend a special thank you to all the landowners involved for their continued support on this project.
Felipe Arbelaez, senior vice president for zero carbon energy bp said: “It’s fantastic to see the safe start-up of this first project in Spain, and for Lightsource bp to achieve an impressive 3GW pipeline in just two years. Through disciplined investment and safe execution, we are delighted to see the next chapter of bp’s energy story in Spain come online. This project is also a great example of the power of bp’s integration capabilities as our expert power trading team will offtake the power generated, supporting the financial stability of the project and meeting bp’s strict returns threshold.”
The construction process was handled by Lightsource bp’s appointed contractor, Prodiel (an Andalusian engineering, procurement and construction company) and over 600 local jobs were created during that time. Prodiel will continue to maintain the solar cluster under an Operations & Maintenance agreement for the next two years.
At the opening ceremony, Carlos Barassa, head of country for bp Spain, said: "The Vendimia solar project that we are inaugurating today in Zaragoza is great example of the fulfillment of bp's ambition in its transition to an integrated energy company, and our contribution to building a low-carbon future."
bp will pay 7X Energy $220 million for the projects and 1GW of 'safe harbour' equipment and expects the acquisition to complete in 30 days. The projects, spread across 12 states - with the largest portfolios in Texas (ERCOT) and MidWest (PJM) - are expected to meet bp’s low carbon investment criteria, generating returns of at least 8-10%.