New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has held many responsibilities associated with promoting renewables and energy efficiency, but the offshore wind challenge is a slightly complicated one. In case of offshore wind power, it not just has the responsibility of moving the process but also coordinating different agencies tasked with regulating and supporting the complex projects associated with offshore wind power.
Challenges Ahead of NYSERDA and how it plans to address them
New York State’s master plan is spearheaded by NYSERDA projects full deployment of offshore turbines by 2030. This would help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5 million tons, annually.
The State of New York has been conducting research and has been doing analysis and outreach for the evaluation of offshore wind energy development since 2016. New York State’s master plan has laid the groundwork for offshore wind plans, complete with 20 supporting studies. The studies cover everything – from the economic impacts of wind resource development to the impact on wildlife, navigation, and fisheries and to the assessment of infrastructure and ports to support these massive projects. The studies address all the possible challenges of the proposed projects and how NYSERDA intends to address them.
Three main challenges are discussed below:
- Workforce Development: The Workforce Opportunity study predicts that the State’s offshore wind project would lead to the creation of 5000 jobs in 2028 in manufacturing, installations, and Operations & Management. These jobs would yield $6 billion in in-state expenditure. The state has announced the establishment of Jobs and Supply Chain Technical Working Group to ensure New York workers have adequate training, certifications, and skills.
- Infrastructure Development: The Assessment of Ports and Infrastructure study assessed the needs and capacity of the state’s port facilities for all phases of Offshore Wind development. Sixty Five port sites were screened and three potential areas were identified with some level of infrastructure upgrades to support Offshore Wind development.
Governor Cuomo has also announced an investment of $15 million to support clean energy infrastructure and workforce development.
- Ecological Challenges: Legal disputes with fishermen, protection of marine life, birds, and migration routes of endangered North Atlantic whales are some of the ecological challenges facing offshore wind developers. The state plans to establish Maritime Technical Working Group, which will focus on developing Wildlife Best Management Practices (BMPs) after studying BMPs already in place in Europe and other regions. Also, NYSERDA plans to take protective measures to reduce effects from construction and operations and ensure co-existence of wind farms with marine animals and birds.
New York’s Offshore Wind Master Plan, chalked out by NYSERDA, aims to tackle all the challenges by working on a comprehensive planning process that addresses the important issues, such as costs, financial risks, and workforce/infrastructure needs.
NYSERDA’s Storage plans for Offshore Wind
Studies conducted in other places suggest that the offshore wind and energy storage combination have various advantages:
- Helps lower electricity prices.
- Enhance grid stability by shifting energy delivery to better meet demand.
- Ensures a steady supply of energy through a robust battery storage system for small businesses and consumers.
So how does NYSERDA plan to combine offshore wind power with storage?
A major challenge standing in the way of Offshore Wind Power is the intermittency issue. Without proper energy storage and dispatch system, New York State will face challenges in integrating and reaping the maximum benefits of Offshore Wind Power. Taking this into consideration and to promote New York’s climate and clean energy goals, Governor Cuomo plans to deploy 1,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2025 and employ 30,000 New Yorkers. A 1,500-megawatt commitment by the state of New York is by far the largest such commitment per capita by any state.
After the recently signed Energy Storage Deployment legislation, the state energy agencies and authorities have also been directed by Governor Cuomo to generate a pipeline of storage projects in 2018 through advanced regulatory changes in utility rates, utility procurements, and wholesale energy markets.
With proper planning and preparation, New York is likely to be one of the biggest global frontiers for wind energy. However, given the implications for both the State’s long-term economic development and ambitious clean energy goals, it is important to for NYSERDA to execute this plan effectively.