EGEB: New England offshore wind, Texas turbine technicians, Georgetown solar

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Today in EGEB, New England energy company Eversource buys into offshore wind. Wind turbine technician an in-demand job in Texas. Georgetown University solar farm draws criticism.

Eversource, New England’s largest energy provider, announced last week it has entered a 50-50 partnership with Ørsted in three offshore wind assets off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The partnership includes two existing projects, the Revolution Wind and South Fork Wind Farm projects. It also includes a 257-square-mile tract off the same coastline. Eversource paid $225 million to enter the partnership.

This isn’t the first partnership between the two companies: Eversource and Ørsted are also developing the nearby Bay State Wind project together. Eversource says the projects could eventually “host at least 4,000 megawatts of offshore wind.”

“We are excited to have Eversource join us as we embark on the creation of the strongest U.S. offshore wind platform,” CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and President of Ørsted North America Thomas Brostrøm said in the press release. He also said,

“With their expansive knowledge of the energy market throughout the region, and by building on both company’s community outreach programs, we are on track to ensure that the Northeast will be the North American hub for offshore wind energy.”

Offshore wind energy is still relatively new in the U.S., but the New England coastline has become the early leader. The DOE also recently announced funding for floating wind turbines.

Texas Technicians

Reflecting the state’s rapid adoption of wind power, a new report claims wind turbine service technician is among the fastest growing jobs in Texas. The data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics through the government-funded Projections Managing Partnership, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

Wind turbine service technician positions should be in high demand until “at least 2026,” with jobs expected to more than double in that time. Texas has more than 20,000 megawatts of wind capacity already installed. It’s the largest state producer of wind power in the country.

A tax subsidy due to start phasing out in 2021 should only increase the urgency for wind production. Corporations and cities alike have shown interest in wind PPAs.

Hoya Solar Power

Georgetown University expects to get nearly half its energy by solar power by the end of 2019. A new solar farm to be built in Charles County, Maryland will help the university reach its goal. But the proposed site is drawing criticism from local environmentalists, WAMU reports.

The site would require removing hundreds of trees from a forested area. The location is designated as “an important bird area” by the Audubon Society. Bonnie Bick, the political chair of the Southern Maryland Sierra Club, told WAMU the project creates a “false choice” between trees and clean energy.

Both Georgetown and contracted developer Origis Energy are confident in the benefits of the tradeoff. The project will produce 32 megawatts of energy for the university. A Georgetown University spokesperson said,

“The proposed offsite solar project would reduce greenhouse emissions equivalent to planting more than 429,000 trees, which is the amount of carbon sequestered by approximately 30,000 acres of forest.”

Local pushback to any development is nothing new, even if it’s for a clean energy project. Solar farms in Connecticut have caused similar concerns.

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