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Grid Hurdles Can’t Be Overlooked in US Offshore Wind Push

Bracewell’s Stephen Hug spoke with Law360 about the different transmission development challenges facing offshore wind developers compared to those facing developers of wind and solar projects on land.

“The difference is that there are fewer points of interconnection that are available to offshore wind developers,” said Hug. “And you have offshore wind that tends to interconnect in the same general area, which can increase [grid] constraints, which then manifests to larger interconnection costs and barriers to achieve interconnection.”

In addition, FERC is incorporating what it learned from a technical conference it held in 2020 into its ongoing overhaul of its transmission policies on whether existing transmission policies could accommodate the anticipated addition of offshore wind.

The first major step in that overhaul came last month, when FERC approved a notice of proposed rulemaking or NOPR that would require utilities and regional grid operators to take a more farsighted approach to transmission project planning, as well as give states a bigger say in how the costs for new projects are ultimately divvied up and charged to consumers.

“FERC following through with the NOPR would be positive,” Hug added. “Similar efforts by FERC on the interconnection process would be welcomed by a lot of developers.”

Click here to read more from Law360.