News | September 4, 2014

U.S. Has Sufficient Resources, Technology To Support Over 54 Gigawatts Of Offshore Wind, NOWEGIS Study Concludes

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded National Offshore Wind Energy Grid Interconnection Study – led by ABB, AWS Truepower, Duke Energy, DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and University of Pittsburgh – concludes three-year investigation with positive outlooks for US-based offshore wind potential by 2030.

The US Department of Energy (DOE)-funded “National Offshore Wind Energy Grid Interconnection Study,” (NOWEGIS) conducted by a team of leading energy organizations, has concluded an intensive three-year investigation assessing technical aspects for high levels of offshore wind energy production along U.S. coastal regions, with encouraging results.

NOWEGIS – a DOE-commissioned study coordinated by experts from ABB, AWS Truepower, Duke Energy, DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering – was launched by the DOE in 2011 and completed this summer. The ABB-led team investigated key economic and technology questions about what the integration of offshore wind energy onto the national grid would entail.

The NOWEGIS team helped determine the expected staging of offshore wind development in each of the coastal regions, developed expected wind generation production profiles, assessed the applicability of integration study methods to offshore wind production, assessed a variety of offshore wind collection and delivery technologies, and considered regulatory issues that may influence the selection of technologies or the implementation of systems.

Among the key findings from the NOWEGIS study:

  • The United States has sufficient offshore wind energy resources to consider having at least 54 GW of offshore wind. While the NOWEGIS focused on the ability to integrate up to 54 GW of offshore wind into the US grid by 2030, the study concluded that resources are available for significantly larger amounts of offshore wind.
  • Appropriate technologies exist for the interconnection of large amounts of wind energy to the US grid. Multiple technologies for both high-voltage AC and high-voltage DC systems already exist that can be used to bring offshore wind generated electricity to the onshore grid. Some technologies may also help alleviate troublesome congestion in the onshore system.
  • At a regional or national level offshore wind energy may provide significant value. The NOWEGIS estimated that the 54 GW of offshore wind could reduce the national annual electricity production costs by approximately $7.68B, which corresponds to approximately $41/MWh of offshore wind added to the grid. This savings can help justify the high initial investment costs.
  • Reductions in the federal permitting and siting process are critical for offshore wind deployment to achieve gigawatt-scale in the next decade. 
  • Research and development promise to help reduce initial capital investment.

“It has been a privilege to work alongside our NOWEGIS working partners over the last three years. They were a strong team representing some of America’s leading energy organizations. We are grateful for the input from our Technical Review Committee, which was composed of representatives from the wind industry, electric utilities and system operators, and government,” said John Daniel, Senior Principal Consultant, ABB, and the Principal Investigator and overall coordinator of the project.

“We would also like to thank the U.S. Department of Energy for their support and confidence in this team, and we hope this study provides valuable insight for utilities, developers, legislators, regulators and other decision makers on laying the groundwork for offshore wind to become part of the U.S. energy portfolio,” said Daniel.

Electric power generated by wind resources has become an increasingly important part of the energy production portfolio of the U.S. The majority of current wind production, however, is land-based in spite of significant and accessible wind resources offshore, as well as significant technological developments for offshore wind production in recent years

The 281-page report, commissioned by DOE in 2011, also contains analysis and conclusions on available technology capabilities and potential future developments, grid interconnection scenarios, offshore wind staging projections and a federal and state regulatory review among other related issues.

In addition to John Daniel from ABB, the team leadership for this project was provided by Ken Pennock (AWS Truepower), Spencer Hanes (Duke Energy), Dr. Eduardo Ibanez (NREL) and Dr. Gregory Reed (University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering).

Source: The US Department Of Energy