The state of New York has set an aggressive, but realistic target of developing 2,400 MW of capacity from offshore wind projects by 2030. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the state has signed a memorandum of understanding to study successful offshore wind transmission models in Europe.
In 2017, Europe had 15,780 MW of capacity from offshore wind farms. The United Kingdom and Germany are the countries with the most offshore wind capacity in the world with 5,824 MW and 4,667 MW, respectively. The United States has only one offshore wind farm, off the coast of Rhode Island with a capacity of only 30 MW.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) will lead the study, collaborating with the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), Consolidated Edison, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Long Island Power Authority. NYPA is the largest public power organization in the United States. NYPA operates 16 generating facilities and over 1,400 miles of transmission lines and is headquartered in White Plains, New York. The study with evaluate different European transmission and interconnection models and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each model.
In my opinion, New York’s evaluation increases the probability of major offshore wind projects succeeding in New York. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Virginia are also pursuing the development of new offshore wind farm projects. These aforementioned states would be wise to collaborate with New York to understand the lessons learned from offshore wind farms in Europe.
The strongest and most consistent wind in the United States are off the coast of Oregon and northern California. Wind speed is a critical factor in offshore wind power generation. A wind speed of 16 miles per hour will generate 50% more electrical power than wind speeds of 14 miles per hour. The renewable energy potential for offshore wind farms off the west coast of the United States is therefore greater than the east coast of the United States. Unfortunately, state governments on the west coast of the United States are not as progressive as state governments on the east coast of the United States.