The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) took another step to advance offshore wind development off the coast of Long Island by seeking comments on a draft plan to measure wind speed and ocean waves at the federal ocean site. NYSDERDA plans to bid on the site on December 15, 2016.
The draft plan, called MetOcean, calls for the use of Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) technology mounted on two buoys to obtain wind and wave data. Accurate wind speed and direction measurements are critical to predicting offshore wind energy production potential at the site, and ocean waves impact the cost of building offshore wind facilities.
The buoys are expected to be in place for 12 to 24 months with the associated data to be made available for public use. This data will provide developers and their funders with confidence to finance development of an offshore wind area, reducing uncertainty and project costs.
NYSERDA is requesting feedback on the MetOcean plan from offshore wind energy developers, consultants, financiers, scientists, regulators, and other stakeholders. Comments are due by December 15, 2016.
“Now more than ever, New York State is leading on clean energy development and combating climate change,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. Offshore wind is critical to the state’s ambitious Clean Energy Standard to responsibly secure 50% of its electricity supply from renewable sources by 2030, which supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision.
“If NYSERDA wins the bid for this ocean site, we will ensure offshore wind in New York is developed responsibly, competitively, and most cost-effectively for consumers,” added Rhodes. “We will actively protect the environment, and we will balance the needs of all constituents and stakeholders, including coastal communities, and fishing and maritime industries.”
At a recent stakeholder meeting, NYSERDA received encouragement for its plans to bid on the 79,000-acre wind energy site in the lease auction to be administered by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. NYSERDA will incorporate extensive stakeholder outreach into offshore wind development decisions.
The MetOcean project is one of many assessments NYSERDA plans to conduct at the ocean site to reduce project costs and shorten development time. Examples of other pre-development projects, include:
- Wildlife surveys
- Data collection about the characteristics of the sea bottom
- Environmental impact studies of an offshore wind project at the site
- Engineering specifications for bringing the electricity to shore
These studies will help developers better understand the potential for electricity production from the site, the most cost-effective type of structure to build, environmental issues to avoid and engineering challenges to consider, ultimately reducing offshore wind costs for New Yorkers.
NYSERDA’s approach is modeled after a similar one used in Europe, which has successfully reduced offshore wind project costs there. In addition, offshore wind costs in general are decreasing. In the Netherlands, the winning bid in a July 2016 auction was 7.8 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) for a 700-MW project. Just four months later the winning bid for a 600-MW project in Denmark was only 5.5 cents a kWh.
To obtain the lowest possible cost for the offshore wind project, NYSERDA plans to bundle the results from the various studies, including the MetOcean work, with an offtake agreement for the electricity to be produced at the site, and hold competitive bidding on the package for companies interested in developing the site. Visit New York State offshore wind energy for more information on the State’s plans.
Filed Under: News, Offshore wind, Policy, Projects