Bringing the Wind In The New Atlantic Wind Connection Underwater Transmission Line Will Open Doors for East Coast Offshore Wind

The Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC)—a 350-mile underwater transmission line designed for offshore wind energy—has drawn billions in investment from three sources: Google; Good Energies, a firm specializing in renewable energy; and Marubeni, a Japanese trading company. The AWC was proposed by transmission company Trans-Elect.

Atlantic Wind Connection, Credit: Viviandnguyen, FlickrCCJohn Breckenridge, the managing director of Good Energies, is confident that “with this line in place, offshore projects can be constructed at lower cost, with less impact on the environment.”

Trans-Elect plans to begin construction in 2013 after securing permits and a favorable environmental review. The transmission line would span the coastline from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Virginia, and provide up to 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity—equal to the output of five large nuclear reactors. The cable would run in shallow trenches along the seabed 15 to 20 miles offshore with four connection points: southern Virginia, Delaware, and southern and northern New Jersey. The connection points allow the energy to be transmitted to existing energy grids on land.

The AWC would also allow companies to build wind farms far from the coast where the turbines would not be visible. Even before any wind farms are built, the cable will channel existing supplies of electricity from southern Virginia, where it is cheap, to nothern New Jersey, where it is more costly. Trans-Elect has estimated that the project will cost $5 billion, plus financing and permit fees. The first phase of the project is a 150-mile stretch connecting New Jersey and Deleware, which could go into service by early 2016.

CONTACTS: Good Energies; Trans-Elect.