A new study offers a road map of key strategic steps New York State can take to reduce the costs of offshore wind power over the next decade. The University of Delaware's Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) conducted the study for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
According to SIOW, 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 by as much as 50%.
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. The study says 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%. Direct steps taken by New York State could contribute up to an additional 30% 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," says Stephanie McClellan, director of SIOW.
‘In Europe, advanced offshore wind turbines are already in the water and powering the grid today,’ adds 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. The report says 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,’ says John B. Rhodes, president and CEO of NYSERDA.
For a copy of the SIOW report, click here.