Roadmap for New York Offshore Wind

A NEW study looks to reduce the cost of offshore wind power for New York State over the next decade, realizing the potential of utility-scale clean energy.

The study conducted by the University of Delaware's Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), offers a roadmap of key strategic steps the state can take to reduce the investment needed for the renewable energy source.

The study finds that ongoing technology and industry advances combined with actions New York could take, independently or with other states, could lower costs for offshore wind power as much as 50% and bring the clean-energy source closer to realizing its potential for "delivering utility-scale renewable electric generation" to New York City and nearby areas such as Long Island.

A primary conclusion from the report is that supporting offshore wind development at scale, rather than on a project-by-project basis, could have the greatest impact on reducing costs. Other actions the report cites that could lower costs include creating and using innovative financing mechanisms, developing infrastructure to reduce costs, and supporting site characterization for early projects to reduce development expenses and risk.

The study notes that while onshore wind development has expanded rapidly in the U.S., no operational offshore wind power projects have been completed to date due to complex construction challenges and the need for operational infrastructure that doesn't exist today in the U.S. These factors lead to high costs and have delayed deployment.

The study identifies multiple paths for reducing offshore wind power costs in New York State, emphasizing that the "State can take actions in the near term to lower its costs substantially, independent of expected external reductions over the next decade." The study finds that taking advantage of wind turbine innovations and other technology and industry advances could lower costs about 20 percent. Direct steps taken by New York State could contribute up to an additional 30 percent reduction in a project’s cost.

"Well-designed policies and actions taken by New York, as well as by other states, can play an essential role in helping New York City and other U.S. East Coast population centers benefit from gigawatts of clean energy that could be generated by deploying wind turbines off the Atlantic coast,” said Stephanie McClellan, Director, SIOW. McClellan is presenting the report's findings at the March 10-12 "Offshore 2015" conference, the world's largest annual offshore wind energy gathering held by the European Wind Energy Association in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"In Europe, advanced offshore wind turbines are already in the water and powering the grid today," said McClellan. "The U.S. can take advantage of innovations and cost efficiencies that have already been developed in Germany, Denmark, and elsewhere. The key for U.S. states is to send clear signals to the markets and begin implementing these steps now to help make offshore wind more competitive with other sources of electricity.”

A significant benefit of offshore wind power is its proximity to the New York City metropolitan area. Offshore wind has the potential to dramatically increase the percentage of clean energy used within New York City, the largest power consumer in New York State, adding systems benefits to the electric grid while reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.

“New York State is laying the groundwork to bring closer the potential of large-scale development of offshore wind and accelerate the cost savings we expect can be achieved through identified actions," said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. "As cost-reduction within the offshore wind sector occurs, and as we develop approaches whether independently or in collaboration with other states to integrating the value of this renewable resource, offshore wind has the potential to support the State’s energy goals under Governor Cuomo," said Rhodes. "While offering the promise of a vast renewable energy resource for the state's most populous region, it will also bring with it economic development, job creation, and a cleaner environment.”

Promoting greater deployment of renewable energy such as offshore wind is a central part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's comprehensive and strategic Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) plan, a bold initiative that addresses critical energy challenges and infrastructure needs. REV explores how we generate and consume energy, giving consumers greater opportunities for energy savings, local power generation, and enhanced reliability as it spurs clean energy innovation, bringing in new investments, improving consumer choice while protecting the environment and energizing New York's economy.

This study helps to inform the State’s efforts to develop its offshore wind strategy. The New York Power Authority, through a collaborative effort with Consolidated Edison Co. of New York and the Long Island Power Authority, has applied for a lease from the federal Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to develop offshore wind off Long Island.

Other recent efforts to understand New York’s ocean uses include the Offshore Atlantic Ocean Study published by the New York Department of State, which contains the most comprehensive data available on wildlife and human uses in the Atlantic Ocean offshore New York. That study provides a baseline of information that will help to identify areas of the ocean that may be suitable for future offshore wind project development and to prioritize additional data needs in those areas.

Picture: Offshore Danish wind turbines, licensed under CC SA 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday 25th March 2015


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