Wind energy: Revolution offshore wind + Tesla batteries will power 80,000 Mass. homes
A decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last year has contributed to a proposal by Deepwater Wind for a 144 megawatt wind farm called Revolution Wind to be located 12 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Deepwater Wind is the same company that built the first US offshore wind farm last year in Rhode Island Sound. That facility is now operational and is powering Block Island, which used to rely on diesel generators for its electricity.
The proposal calls for grid scale battery storage provided by Tesla Powerpack units. The company told Think Progress that Revolution Wind will be the “largest combined offshore wind and energy storage project in the world.” Battery storage allows renewable energy systems to balance fluctuations in the amount of electricity provided by solar panels or wind turbines and avoid the need to build so-called “peaker plantes” to provide power when grid demand rises. With storage, utilities can gather wind energy as it is generated and deploy it as it is needed.
“People may be surprised by just how affordable and reliable this clean energy combo will be,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said in a statement. “Offshore wind is mainstream and it is coming to the U.S. in big way.” The current project is small enough to develop in a “single building season,” the company said, and developers will be able to “phase in later projects,” if needed. “Revolution Wind is flexible and scalable. That’s a serious advantage of offshore wind – we can build to the exact size utilities need.”
Last year, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of 4 young plaintiffs in a suit brought on their behalf by the Conservation Law Foundation. The suit alleged that the state had failed to act aggressively enough to implement the provisions of a state law called the Global Warming Solutions Act enacted in 2008. The GWSA required the state to slash its carbon emissions by 25% no later than 2020. Subsequently, governor Charlie Baker ordered the relevant state agencies to speed up the process of getting renewable energy projects off the ground and completed. That order is seen as making approval for the Revolution Wind proposal far more likely.
To meet the governor’s directive, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, together with the state’s utility companies, requested proposals to help meet the state’s carbon reduction goals. That is what spurred the Deepwater Wind proposal. If approved, it plans to make New Bedford, once the world’s largest whaling port, its base of operations for the construction of the wind farm. That will add hundreds of jobs to the local economy. Overall, wind energy now employs more than 100,000 Americans across the nation, according to the US Department of Energy.
Here’s an interesting side note for you legal eagles out there. When Massachusetts became as state, it had two supreme courts. Its legislature was known as the Supreme Legislative Court (and still is). To distinguish the law court from the legislative court, the judicial tribunal was called the Supreme Court of Errors. For generations, it was mockingly referred to as the Court of Supreme Errors. Today, for obvious reasons, it is known simply as the Supreme Judicial Court.