Where is the ideal location for a US East Coast offshore grid?

Authors

  • Michael J. Dvorak,

    1. Atmosphere/Energy Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
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  • Eric D. Stoutenburg,

    1. Atmosphere/Energy Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
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  • Cristina L. Archer,

    1. Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, School of Marine Science and Policy, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA
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  • Willett Kempton,

    1. Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, School of Marine Science and Policy, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA
    2. Center for Electric Technology, Department of Electrical Engineering, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Lyngby, Denmark
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  • Mark Z. Jacobson

    1. Atmosphere/Energy Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
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Abstract

[1] This paper identifies the location of an “ideal” offshore wind energy (OWE) grid on the U.S. East Coast that would (1) provide the highest overall and peak-time summer capacity factor, (2) use bottom-mounted turbine foundations (depth ≤50 m), (3) connect regional transmissions grids from New England to the Mid-Atlantic, and (4) have a smoothed power output, reduced hourly ramp rates and hours of zero power. Hourly, high-resolution mesoscale weather model data from 2006–2010 were used to approximate wind farm output. The offshore grid was located in the waters from Long Island, New York to the Georges Bank, ≈450 km east. Twelve candidate 500 MW wind farms were located randomly throughout that region. Four wind farms (2000 MW total capacity) were selected for their synergistic meteorological characteristics that reduced offshore grid variability. Sites likely to have sea breezes helped increase the grid capacity factor during peak time in the spring and summer months. Sites far offshore, dominated by powerful synoptic-scale storms, were included for their generally higher but more variable power output. By interconnecting all 4 farms via an offshore grid versus 4 individual interconnections, power was smoothed, the no-power events were reduced from 9% to 4%, and the combined capacity factor was 48% (gross). By interconnecting offshore wind energy farms ≈450 km apart, in regions with offshore wind energy resources driven by both synoptic-scale storms and mesoscale sea breezes, substantial reductions in low/no-power hours and hourly ramp rates can be made.

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