New York Prepares to File June Report on Offshore Wind Offtake Options

With an ultimate goal of informing New York’s offshore wind master plan, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is working to file in June a report that will assess the offshore wind offtake options for the state.

“[T]he existence of a power contract for [offshore wind] projects is paramount to their development, and New York, through its Clean Energy Standard, will be identifying the proper offtake options for New York,” Doreen Harris, director, large-scale renewables for NYSERDA, said during an April 12 webinar on the U.S. offshore wind road map presented by Wind Energy Update.

The Offshore Wind Offtake Options Proposal is one of several reports NYSERDA is preparing this year to help the agency prepare the state’s offshore wind master plan for release in December.

“NYSERDA is the central procurement agent for the Clean Energy Standard for renewables at this point, so we conduct periodic auctions on behalf of the state, which is unique for a state,” Harris said. “However, for offshore wind, we recognize there is new consideration to be given to the proper way to ultimately pay for offshore wind as a state, and what we seek to provide in this June filing is a process and the identification of the options that are available to New York that align with the principles of the Clean Energy Standard.”

Finding New Wind Energy Areas

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last December held an auction for the first New York State wind energy area lease, which is about 80,000 acres. Statoil won the auction, and the lease was executed in March.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year called for the development of up to 2,400 MW of wind in New York waters by 2030. Harris said that the state recognizes that in order to reach 2,400 MW, additional wind energy areas will be needed.

The offshore wind master plan, which is a NYSERDA-led collaborative effort with industry stakeholders, will include the identification of multiple new recommended wind energy areas, according to Harris.

“The identification of these areas will be the result of a series of studies that will be conducted and approaches analyzed over the course of the next nine months,” she said.

The wind study area for the master plan measures 12,600 square nautical miles (see Figure 1), but, Harris noted, siting 2,400 MW of offshore wind would require only about 280 square nautical miles, or 237,000 acres, which is 2.2 percent of the study area.

Figure 1: Master plan offshore study area. Credit: NYSERDA

Preparation of Siting Standards

The master plan also will lead to the establishment of New York siting standards for offshore wind based on ongoing studies and stakeholder input.

Harris said that the four primary areas that the siting standards will be based on are:

  • The visibility of a potential project
  • The environmental impact of a potential project
  • Fishing considerations
  • Navigational considerations.

“The studies that we’re working towards will help us to quantify these standards that we seek to establish, such that we can be sure to identify the sites that are best suited for development for New York,” Harris said.

According to Harris, the following studies, scheduled for release this year, will inform the master plan:

  • U.S. Jones Act Compliant Installation Vessel Study (due in May)
  • New York Ports and Infrastructure for Offshore Wind Study (due in July)
  • Marine Navigation Study (due in July)
  • Environmental Studies (due in August)
  • Multi-Beam EchoSounder and Benthic Survey Results (due in September)
  • Fisheries Assessment Report (due in September)
  • New York Offshore Wind Siting Standards and Identification of Preferred Sites for Development (due in September)

Some of the studies that will inform the master plan will be completed this year, and others may carry over to subsequent years or may outline approaches to inform where additional work is needed, Harris said.

Join Renewable Energy World for the U.S. Offshore Wind Executive Summit, the first event to explore the parallels of wind, oil and gas. Click here to learn more.

Lead image credit: Ashley Dace | CC BY-SA 2.0  | Wikimedia Commons

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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