• Connecticut has approved a 120-megawatt solar farm covering 485 acres.
  • The UK’s 857 megawatt Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm starts to produce its first power.
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Connecticut’s large solar farm

The Connecticut Siting Council has approved a 120-megawatt solar farm in East Windsor that covers 485 acres. It will be the largest solar farm in the Northeastern US and deliver enough clean energy to customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to power more than 12,000 homes.

It’s called Gravel Pit Solar, and construction could begin in 2021 and finish in late 2022 or early 2023. The site includes operating gravel pits (and thus the name), raw land, and agricultural fields.

New York City-based developer D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) and project developer North Light Energy had secured options on the land from the various owners, according to the Hartford Courant. D.E. Shaw’s website states:

Since 2005, we’ve invested in more than 40 solar and wind projects, including the country’s first offshore wind farm.

The company is referring to Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, which was the US’s first wind farm that powered up in 2016.

The owners will pay $378,000 annually for 20 years, plus $1.5 million at the beginning of construction. The Courant writes:

First Selectman Jason Bowsza said the project ‘presents an opportunity for East Windsor to be a part of the state’s renewable energy goals while seeing a significant increase in local tax revenue for the town.’

The state of Connecticut has purchased 20 megawatts of power, while Rhode Island has purchased 50, with the remainder to be sold to additional buyers, officials said.

Triton Knoll powers up

The UK’s 857 megawatt Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm off the Lincolnshire coast in the North Sea has started to produce its first power. It is jointly owned by RWE, which manages its construction, operation and maintenance, J-Power, and Kansai Electric Power.

Triton Knoll will be able to power the equivalent of more than 800,000 homes in the UK once it’s fully operational.

The project’s website states:

First generation follows the installation of the first of the project’s 90 wind turbines in January 2021 and the successful energization of the project’s transmission system including the offshore substation platforms, offshore export cable, onshore cables and onshore substation.

Triton Knoll uses 9.5 MW turbines made by Danish firm Vestas, which the project claims is “capable of energizing a typical UK household for more than 29 hours with just a single turn of the blades.”

The UK is currently the number-one market for cumulative offshore wind installations, with over 10.2 GW of capacity, reported the Global Wind Energy Council on February 25. China has now overtaken Germany to become the world’s second-largest offshore wind market.

The offshore wind industry installed just over 6 GW of new capacity globally in 2020, nearly the same levels as the previous year despite the impacts of COVID-19 and the second-best year for the sector.

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