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Offshore Wind Project Moves Forward

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A Cambria County wind turbine.

The Obama Administration made it easier for a proposed offshore wind project to move into the permitting phase today. The Atlantic Wind Connection would be the first offshore wind project to build undersea transmission cables that connect to the power grid along the East Coast. Referred to as a “backbone,” it would connect offshore wind farms in the shallow waters of the Outer Continental Shelf to the PJM grid, which serves the Mid-Atlantic region. The high voltage system will span 300 miles, take ten years to construct, and operate off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The project would provide 7,000 megawatts of renewable energy to the heavily used power grid between Washington, D.C. and New York City.
The Department of Interior announced on Monday that there would be no “competitive interest” for the use of the Outer Continental Shelf, meaning the permitting process can begin. The project is in part funded by Google. One of the largest barriers to wind power development is infrastructure. Google executive Rick Needham says this project will help fix that.

“We’re excited about the potential of this project to help the states meet their renewable energy goals by providing a platform that can rapidly accelerate the deployment of clean offshore wind at lower total cost,” said Needham.

The next step would be an environmental review and public comment.

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