From the report’s Executive Summary:
This 84-page document analyzes possible offshore wind farm locations in the state of California are examined, reference areas and potential wind plant technologies are selected, and the Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) to 2030. By studying representative technology located at reference wind energy areas, cost and performance characteristics were evaluated. Reference areas are identified as sites suitable to represent actual offshore wind projects based on physical site conditions, wind resource quality, known existing site use, and proximity to necessary infrastructure.
The intent is to assist decision-making by state utilities, independent system operators, state government officials and policy makers, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and its key stakeholders. The report is not intended to serve as a prescreening exercise for possible future offshore wind development.
This study is based on assumptions and analysis from A Spatial-Economic Cost-Reduction Pathway Analysis for U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Development from 2015–2030 (Beiter et al. 2016), which was written to support the National Offshore Wind Strategy (Gilman et al. 2016). The National Offshore Wind Strategy builds on the previous Wind Vision Study Scenario calling for 86 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind deployed by 2050 in the United States. Under this scenario, 20% (17.2 GW installed capacity) of the nation’s total offshore wind comes from the Pacific coastal states (DOE 2015).
Although most of the offshore development activity has been focused in Europe in water 50-m deep or less, 96% of California’s offshore resource is located in waters with depths greater than 60 m. These deeper waters will likely require floating wind technology, which is still in a nascent stage of development but is advancing toward commercialization in both Europe and Asia. The eventual commercialization of floating offshore wind is supported by market indicators such as accelerating deployment, improving cost, and increasing global research and development spending (Beiter et al. 2016).
Cost-reduction scenarios point to fixed-bottom and floating wind LCOE benchmarks that may converge within the next decade. These cost reductions may enable floating offshore wind to compete in California electricity markets to help meet state renewable energy targets.
In addition, other inherent offshore wind attributes may indirectly add further value to the California economy through reductions in state water consumption (via displaced fossil generation), complementary diurnal load characteristics with solar energy, and reduced transmission constraints due to proximity to dense population centers.
Six sites were identified that met the site selection criteria needed to sustain a major commercial offshore wind project. These criteria include:
• Annual average wind speeds greater than 7 meters per second (m/s)
• Water depths shallower than 1,000 m
• Lowest use conflicts
• Access to transmission on land (not required but evaluated)
• Suitable ports for installation and service
• Minimal visual impacts from nearshore siting.
Present and future costs among these six representative offshore wind locations were estimated. Two of the reference sites were selected because they represent typical conditions in northern and southern California, respectively, and were used to conduct more detailed cost assessments. The analysis also provides a proxy for the scale of possible offshore wind development to meet viii This report is available at no cost from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at www.nrel.gov/publications. California’s future electricity demand and state renewable energy targets, up to 50% renewables and beyond.
Costs estimated for this report do not include subsidies or incentives. All reported years represent Commercial Operation Date (COD) unless indicated otherwise. This report is available at no cost from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at www.nrel.gov/publications.
For the full report: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/67414.pdf
Filed Under: News, Offshore wind