Offshore Wind Power

Offshore wind has finally arrived in the United States! The nation’s first offshore wind farm just completed construction and is expected to come online in November of 2016. Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Project utilizes five 6 MW turbines to provide 30 MW of power to Block Island and the Rhode Island mainland. This major milestone for offshore wind in the United States demonstrates the growing momentum for this clean, large-scale and cost-effective source of energy for the eastern seaboard.

Progress For New York

The offshore wind energy potential for New York is immense. The Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New York has the potential to support thousands of megawatts of wind-driven power generation. With each megawatt of offshore wind capable of powering more than 500 homes, millions of New Yorkers could get their electricity from this clean, reliable, cost-effective source.

New York is on the brink of realizing the enormous benefits of developing this remarkable resource with significant progress being made for offshore wind including:

→  LIPA’s expected approval in September of a 90 MW offshore wind power project located 30 miles from Montauk that will serve growing demand for electricity on Long Island’s south fork.

→  The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) auction of the 81,000-acre New York Wind Energy Area (WEA) scheduled for December, and NYSERDA’s plans to bid in that auction to accelerate the development of offshore wind power for New York.

→  NYSERDA’s planned Offshore Wind Master Plan that will provide a comprehensive guide for offshore wind power development in New York.

→  The recently issued Clean Energy Standard (CES), which provides an enforceable mechanism for achieving Governor Cuomo’s ambitious goal of 50% renewables by 2030 – a goal that most experts agree can’t be accomplished without the large-scale development of offshore wind.

With major offshore wind resources in close proximity to high electricity demand areas, the increasing capacity of offshore wind turbines, and the proven record of success in Europe, offshore wind energy is quickly gaining the much-needed policy and financial support to drive development forward here in New York.

Benefits of Offshore Wind

 In addition to helping New York’s massive coastal population meet its increasing demand for electricity, offshore wind development will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands of domestic jobs.

Benefits of offshore wind farms include the following:

→  Offshore wind has the ability to generate electricity near fast-growing population centers.

→  Expansive areas of open water are suitable for major projects, and in many cases are the best options for large-scale renewable energy development where there is limited opportunity for land development.

→  Offshore wind farms have the potential to generate vast quantities of power due to the exceptionally strong and consistent wind resources in the Atlantic Ocean off New York’s coast.

→  Offshore turbines can generate energy during times of high electricity use thanks to the "sea breeze effect."

→  Additionally, economic opportunities abound when it comes to the future of offshore wind. North America has not yet established the specialized installation facilities and sea vessels, unique turbine component manufacturing, focused research, and professional and technical experience that are requisites of offshore wind development. All of these unique requirements represent an economic opportunity for job creation, ranging from research, design, and manufacturing to operations and maintenance.

Challenges and Opportunities

The primary challenge for the offshore wind industry as it takes off in the United States is ensuring the demand that will drive investment. New York would benefit from stimulating demand in the same way that other states, such as Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey have, by making a specific commitment to offshore wind power. A pledge from New York’s leadership to develop thousands of megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 would stimulate the growth necessary in this industry to meet Governor Cuomo’s ambitious renewable energy goal.

Another significant challenge is the cost of construction due to gaps in the United States’ supply chain. Research and development are essential components of addressing these concerns, though large-scale, long-term commitments to offshore wind by governments and industry will also serve to incentivize the establishment of a robust supply chain that will increase competition and dramatically lower costs.

Siting issues are another area of focus for the offshore wind power industry. Working closely with shipping interests, aviation experts, the commercial and recreational fishing communities, environmentalists, coastal property owners, and others who may have concerns about the siting of offshore wind turbines is essential to ensuring the successful development of this important new industry.

ACE NY and the New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA) are working with members through advocacy and public education to realize the extraordinary potential of offshore wind for the Empire State.