NAW has learned that Austin, Texas-based Baryonyx Corp. has withdrawn its permit application for its GoWind Offshore Wind Demonstration Project, effectively ending further development of its proposed 18 MW offshore wind farm consisting of three 6 MW direct-drive turbines located about five miles off the coast of Texas' South Padre Island.
According to Sandra Arnold, spokesperson at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston district, the developer withdrew a pair of permits related to the GoWind project on May 14.
In its explanation, Baryonyx informed USACE that it ‘intended to redefine the project as technology to desalinate the ocean as well as produce electricity.’
The decision came a week after the company learned that it had not been selected to move forward to the next round of the U.S. Department of Energy's advancement offshore wind technology program.
Like other wind developers, Baryonyx placed much of the demo project's viability on receiving $46.7 million in DOE funding over four years. In Dec. 2012, the company was one of seven entities receiving $4 million in funding to study advanced offshore wind technology. Specifically, the DOE selected Baryonyx because of its advanced jacket foundation design, as well as its potential to integrate lessons learned from the oil and gas sector on hurricane-resistant facility design, installation procedures and personnel safety. However, Baryonyx was not selected in the DOE's so-called ‘down-select’ process.
While the developer signaled its intention to shift away from offshore wind in the Gulf, USACE's Arnold indicates that Baryonyx would have to re-file its application if it intends to locate the desalination project there.
Founded in May 2009, Baryonyx was seen by many to have the inside track on building the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. because for example, the project, fell under the jurisdiction of the state of Texas – which regulates nine nautical miles off the coast. Some thought that obtaining approval from the state of Texas – as opposed to getting the go-ahead from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, for instance – put Baryonyx in the driver's seat to be the first project in the water.
Additionally, several company executives – notably, Baryonyx CEO Ian Hatton – had offshore wind experience, having worked for U.K.-based renewables developer Eclipse Energy, a company founded by Hatton.
Before it was acquired by Sweden-based utility Vattenfall in November 2008, Eclipse developed Ormonde, a 150 MW offshore wind farm located in the Irish Sea that features 5 MW machines from Senvion.