The U.S. has ambitious goals to generate clean energy from offshore wind farms. But Inadequate or non-existent transmission infrastructure remains a well-known hurdle to achieving those targets.
Proactive and collaborative transmission planning to support offshore wind development in the coming decades could save at least $20 billion and reduce environmental and community impacts by 50%, according to a new report conducted by the Brattle Group on behalf of clean energy advocacy organizations.
Federal and state offshore wind procurement goals exceed 50 GW through 2035 and reach 77 GW by 2045. California on its own set a goal of 25 GW of offshore wind by 2045. Several states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have already procured offshore wind generating capacity.
The Brattle Study encourages collaboration on interconnection and transmission planning processes by grid operators to achieve cost-effective grid expansion.
In addition to cost savings and reduced environmental impacts, proactive offshore wind transmission planning could result in 60–70% fewer shore crossings and necessary onshore transmission upgrades, reduce marine transmission cable installations on the ocean floor by 50% or approximately 2,000 miles, and significantly accelerate the achievement of offshore wind deployment timelines by eliminating transmission-related delays, the report found.
Report authors said collaboration needs to begin today, in part to realize the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act, which offers support and tax credits for clean energy deployment.
You can read the full report here.