AWS Truepower LLC, a provider of renewable energy consulting and information services, says it has been selected to collaborate with Duke Energy, ABB Inc., the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) on the Carolinas Offshore Wind Integration Case Study.
The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and is designed to study the benefits and challenges associated with developing offshore wind generation facilities in the waters off the coasts of North and South Carolina. According to AWS Truepower, the results will be critical to making rational policy and commercial decisions related to offshore wind energy.
The study will assess viable wind deployment sites, evaluate the impact of development of three different amounts of installed offshore wind generation capacity, determine the effect of various collection and interconnection technologies and methods, and assess the operational impacts to Duke Energy Carolinas electric power system.
The results of the study will provide utility planners, industry participants and policymakers with new information so they can make informed decisions related to offshore wind development.
For key stakeholders, such as utility planners, the information will help with the system additions and operational changes needed to accommodate development. Industry participants will review the cost, timing, preparations and suitability of specific sites for offshore wind development, and policymakers will receive detailed information about the costs and system impacts of offshore wind, AWS Truepower explains.
"Our goal is to fully understand how the abundant wind resource off the coast of the Carolinas – and North Carolina, in particular – can help reshape our long-term energy outlook," says Duke Energy Vice President Christopher Fallon. "We've assembled a project team with tremendous expertise and talent, and we look forward to sharing the results of our study with interested parties in the Carolinas and throughout the country."
AWS Truepower's primary role in the project will be to create wind generation profiles for hypothetical offshore wind farms. This will be accomplished through the firm's proprietary site-selection algorithm, which selects likely locations for offshore wind farm development and simulates the potential project build-out.
The selection process will build on the work previously performed by UNC. The firm's numerical weather-prediction models will then be used to simulate multiple years of wind and weather profiles, which will be converted into energy-output profiles at each simulated offshore site.
The study will help to quantify the likely impact to consumers from the operational changes and system upgrades necessary to integrate offshore wind energy. It also will provide an opportunity to demonstrate how offshore wind can enable a region with relatively poor onshore resources, like the Carolinas, to meet their renewable portfolio standards, AWS Truepower adds.