This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 20, 2010

Major Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Transmission Project Announced

Photo of several large wind turbines in the ocean.

Offshore wind turbines like these could use the transmission capacity proposed by Google Inc. and others.
Credit: Siemens

A major wind energy transmission project, the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC), was announced October 12 by a group led by transmission company Trans-Elect and sponsored by Good Energies, Google Inc., and Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading firm. The project, which is intended to boost offshore wind energy along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, will help create thousands of jobs, improve consumer access to clean energy sources, and increase the reliability of the region's existing power grid.

When complete, the project will connect 6,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power, enough to serve roughly 1.9 million households, and it can be expanded to accommodate additional offshore wind energy as the industry further develops. The use of high-voltage direct current technology allows for easier integration and control of multiple wind farms while avoiding the electrical losses associated with more typical high-voltage alternating current lines. With this strong backbone in place, larger and more energy efficient wind farms can connect to offshore power hubs farther out to sea. These power hubs will in turn be connected via sub-sea cables to the strongest, highest capacity parts of the land-based transmission system. The Mid-Atlantic region offers more than 60,000 MW of offshore wind potential in the relatively shallow waters of the outer continental shelf.

The filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this year will outline details of the project, including how it benefits consumers and businesses by improving power flows across the region. The project will continue collaborating with developers and officials to map the optimal path for the line. Before construction can begin, the project will need approval from federal, state, regional, and local regulators as well as from PJM Interconnection, the region's grid operator. See the press release on the AWC Web site.