Energy Department study finds financial benefits from linking offshore wind power projects

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Linking some offshore wind power projects through offshore transmission networks would lower electricity costs and reduce fossil fuel reliance, according to Energy Department findings first shared with The Hill.

The study results also indicate that this method would increase overall grid reliability, an Energy Department official told The Hill. Researchers also found that financial benefits from offshore transmission networking can outweigh the costs by a ratio of as much as 2-to-1.

The recommendations are part of a broader Biden administration goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind development by the end of the decade, with installations spanning the East, West and Gulf coasts.

A grid strength analysis conducted as part of the study also indicated potential drawbacks, however: In a scenario where 30 GW of offshore wind power is successfully deployed, 14 of 24 points of interconnection (POIs) show weak grid-strength conditions.

“This does not mean the evaluated POIs are infeasible but indicates further studies (and possibly additional investment) are needed to ensure stable and reliable operation of the offshore wind power plant (or any inverter-based resource) under weak grid condition,” researchers wrote.

“Offshore wind energy is already powering more than one hundred thousand homes along the East Coast, with the potential to grow and further enhance grid reliability and reduce even more fossil fuels,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement to The Hill. “The Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study and the Action Plan show the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance offshore wind along the nation’s coasts will boost domestic manufacturing and support tens of thousands of jobs as we tackle the climate crisis.” 

The study comes the week after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced the launch of the state’s first offshore wind farm. The administration also approved what would be the single largest offshore wind project to date off of Virginia in October. 

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