Power market shift: The path of power

March 25, 2019 | Kieways 2019 Q1

Kiewit has a long-standing, successful track record of adapting to changing market conditions and emerging technologies. Keeping a pulse on what’s to come ultimately helps utilities tackle challenging issues, such as how to best meet new renewable energy requirements through offshore wind power generation.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, there was a 95 percent increase in global offshore wind power from 2016 to 2017. While the majority of power generation was in Europe, the U.S. market is well positioned for exponential growth.

The U.S. Department of Energy has set its sights on using wind energy to generate 20 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, 35 percent by 2050.

The U.S. offshore wind market continues to evolve with the development of state-level commitments. New Jersey adopted a target to deploy 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030. Both California and New York have a goal of 50 percent renewable power generation by 2030, which cannot be met by solar and onshore wind alone.

Offshore wind generation requires hundreds of turbines with individual submarine cables that connect to each other, and export submarine cables to bring power from offshore to the grid onshore.
Installing turbines and cables in a marine environment is complicated. Offshore wind “farms” are generally located miles from shore, creating logistical obstacles in mobilizing equipment and crews. Long-distance submarine cables are typically installed 6 to 10 feet below the seabed to protect them from damage, requiring specialized hydraulic plow machines and installation crews.

“To meet the anticipated demand for such a niche market, we are laying the foundation for the supply chain network now,” said Forest Rong, who specializes in underground and submarine transmission. “We see tremendous potential for offshore wind in the U.S. and are excited to jump into this market.”


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