DOE Awards Funding To Major Offshore Wind Interconnection Study


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that it is providing funding for a group of energy organizations to perform a study that will assess the most promising sites for offshore wind production along all of the U.S. coastal regions.

The offshore wind interconnection study will be led by experts from ABB, AWS Truepower, Duke Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Pittsburgh. The team will investigate important technical and economic questions about the integration of offshore wind energy through a range of transmission technologies, ABB explains.

This team will determine the expected staging of offshore wind development in each of the coastal regions, develop expected wind generation production profiles, assess the applicability of integration study methods to offshore wind production, assess a variety of offshore wind collection and delivery technologies, and consider regulatory issues that may influence the selection of technologies or the implementation of systems.

Additionally, the study will provide the technical and economic viability data necessary to produce a road map to the DOE's "20% wind energy by 2030" wind goals for the U.S. According to the DOE, this offshore wind initiative will help guide the national effort to achieve 54 GW of deployed offshore wind generating capacity by 2030.

ABB will oversee the project, and its main technical contribution will be to assess the collection and delivery technologies, including collector system alternatives, delivery system alternatives, marine substation design and hardware, and undersea cabling and installation technologies.

AWS Truepower will focus on the initial phases of the study. The AWS Truepower contribution will include the formulation of offshore wind development staging, offshore wind generation production profile simulation, and an analysis of wind generation ramp frequencies between the offshore and onshore wind projects.

Duke Energy Business Services will assist ABB by providing transmission consulting services and regulatory policy support to the study and will collaborate with its research partners to stage national offshore wind modeling in a way that proactively attempts to address potential conflicts with military, commercial and recreational fishing, environmental and other important interests.

The University of Pittsburgh will focus on examining traditional and advanced electric power-delivery options. To access the most effective integration of offshore wind into onshore networks, researchers will look at power-electronics-based transmission technologies, integrating AC and DC power converters and undersea cable systems.

The project team is expected to provide its final report and recommendations to the DOE in September 2013.

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