Clean energy groups urge use of global standards for offshore transmission systems

Published on April 12, 2024 by Dave Kovaleski

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A group of 13 clean energy and environmental organizations are urging policymakers in coastal Atlantic states to utilize global hardware standards when planning offshore transmission systems.

These global standards have emerged through collaborative work between European utilities and the electric equipment supply chain. In a letter to policymakers, the organizations detail how the U.S. could benefit from Europe’s standardized 525 kilovolt (kV) high-voltage direct current (HVDC) system hardware design for converter platforms and transmission cables. If adopted by Atlantic coastal states, the groups state that these de facto standards will allow offshore wind energy to increase at the scale and pace necessary to realize state energy goals.

Additional benefits of implementing these hardware standards include cost-effective access to the global supply chain; quicker, scalable transmission solicitations; improved certainty for offshore developers and the global and U.S. transmission supply chain; and the development of less than half as many offshore grid systems, thus reducing environmental impacts.

“Atlantic Coast states can and should move forward with planning and procurement of offshore transmission systems based on the work that has led to the developing supply chain and a significant order book,” officials from the 13 groups wrote in a letter to policymakers. “Given the lead times and supply chain orders already in place, beginning transmission solicitations for Atlantic-based offshore transmission as expeditiously as possible will help ensure that systems that allow offshore wind energy to increase in scale and benefits can be in place by the 2032-2033 time frame.”

The effort is led by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the American Clean Power Association (ACP),

“America cannot afford to drag its heels any longer in planning and deploying the transmission necessary to achieve the clean energy transition,” ACORE President and CEO Ray Long said. “Widespread growth in U.S. electricity demand is going to require more energy than ever before, and offshore wind is a key component of meeting that demand. The standards for offshore transmission systems laid out in this letter will help facilitate the timely build out of the infrastructure necessary to support this critical industry.”

ACP CEO Jason Grumet added that state collaboration to standardize offshore wind transmission is vital to the growth of the offshore win industry.

“Developing gigawatts of offshore wind projects and building up our domestic supply chain is a long-term effort – coordination today will help to unlock the benefits of this clean, reliable resource that is essential to meet our nation’s growing energy demand,” Grumet said.