NYPA to lead offshore wind study; LIPA will also have role

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by New York power agencies and partners to conduct a study of successful offshore wind transmission models, with a specific focus on large-scale European projects, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Aug. 8.

The New York Power Authority will lead the study and a number of parties including the Long Island Power Authority will collaborate with NYPA on the initial phase of the research.

Input gained from the study will help determine the optimal infrastructure required to support offshore wind targets set by the governor.

Earlier this year, Cuomo announced the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan, which will guide the state in the development of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030. The plan describes the conditions needed for the state to achieve its offshore wind target and indicates the need for future technical studies and analyses to advance the most cost-effective and responsible development.

Cuomo’s office said the findings of the study will be timely as the state looks at transmission costs which the master plan estimates could comprise 30 percent of total costs of an offshore wind development.

Particular attention will be given in the study to the physical design, including radial and network connections and interconnections between the projects and to the respective onshore transmission systems as well as development and rate structures.

It will also focus on the ownership structures, business models and financing approaches used in each jurisdiction, as well as the regulatory approaches governing transmission development and cost recovery.

Results of the study “will enable New York State and offshore wind developers to implement these major clean energy projects in an informed, cost-effective manner, thereby reducing ratepayer costs and moving the state even further along in its goal of obtaining 50 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030,” Cuomo’s office said in a news release.

The study will focus on European infrastructure design, best practices in connecting wind-generated power to transmission networks and the overall power grid and successes in reducing the cost of delivering wind energy to customers and consumers.

The New York Independent System Operator, Con Edison, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and LIPA will collaborate with NYPA on the initial phase of the research. The study will look to learn from the different transmission and interconnection models currently used in Europe, which currently utilizes advanced wind energy technologies.

"We'll look at the experiences, conclusions and recommendations of others to determine what New York should consider in developing offshore wind transmission,” said Gil Quiniones, NYPA's president and CEO. “We want to distill the most important lessons learned from European development and consider the possible implications for New York State."

"This collaboration is an important step to building a sustainable wind energy industry on Long Island and in New York,” said Tom Falcone, LIPA CEO. “Further research can grow an offshore wind industry that creates jobs, brings costs down and reduces our reliance on fossil fuels."

In January 2017, LIPA's Board of Trustees voted to approve the first offshore wind farm in New York. The LIPA board approved of the South Fork Wind Farm, a 90-MW development that is 30 miles southeast of Montauk.

PSC authorized solicitations

In July, the New York Public Service Commission authorized NYSERDA, in consultation with NYPA and LIPA, to issue Phase 1 solicitations in 2018 and 2019 for approximately 800 MW of offshore wind.

The PSC also required NYSERDA to take immediate steps to study transmission solutions for Phase 2 and beyond to consider the longer-term configurations for cost-effective transmission of offshore wind, and the various options for ownership and planning processes.

The study will inform the state on how to potentially apply learnings from Europe to New York for its Phase 2 procurements.

 Results of the study are expected this fall.