Recent reductions in the cost of offshore wind energy in Europe have led to renewed interest in deploying this technology in the US. This is particularly true in the Northeast US (New York and New England). That said, a wider acceptance of this technology may bring with it intermittency issues that grid planners are not currently anticipating. In essence, while offshore wind power might mean a feast of clean energy – it may also be a famine during certain critical periods. In this Insight, Wood Mackenzie summarizes the drivers of growing interest in offshore wind in North America specifically the Northeast US. After that, we examine actual Northeast offshore wind speeds over the past couple of years. Coupled with information from the first operating offshore wind farm, the data suggests that real-world offshore wind power performance and reliability may fall short of today’s assumptions used by Northeast grid operators.
Table of contents
Recent events bolstering the Northeast offshore wind prospects
Offshore Wind’s Summer Reliability / Capacity Value – Rolling the Dice
Offshore Wind’s Winter Reliability Value – lessons from Winter Storm Stella
Will Northeast offshore wind capacity factors be lower than expected?
Tables and charts
This report includes 4 images and tables including:
Estimated monthly average capacity factors for Northeast offshore wind
Estimated hourly capacity factor for offshore wind based upon Massachusetts weather buoy data for 2016
Estimated hourly capacity factors for Northeast offshore wind on summer peak load days in 2015 and 2016
Estimated hourly capacity factors for Northeast offshore wind during winter storm Stella (March 14 2017)