Brattle Principal Johannes Pfeifenberger and Associate Walter Graf presented during a May 14 webinar moderated by Anbaric to discuss a new era of offshore wind.

The webinar highlighted a new report that details onshore electric grid cost savings of over $1 billion and significantly reduced environmental impacts in adopting a multi-user, planned transmission system to harness wind power off New England’s coast. The report, Offshore Transmission in New England: The Benefits of a Better-Planned Griddescribes the limitations of connecting each wind farm to shore individually in comparison to a “planned” approach – a high-capacity offshore transmission system serving multiple wind farms, reducing marine cabling and optimizing onshore landing points.

Among the report’s other findings:

  • Planned offshore transmission significantly reduces seabed marine cabling. Planning transmission for the next 3,600 MWs of offshore wind would reduce cabling by about 50%, preventing 356 miles of seabed disturbance and significantly reducing the impact on fisheries and marine ecosystems.
  • Planning and procuring transmission separately from generation increases competition and can reduce transmission costs 20%-30%, according to studies of UK offshore transmission and US onshore transmission trends.
  • Planned transmission can level the playing field between generators, increase competition, and reduce costs for offshore wind, a finding that reflects the experience in Europe.
  • Planned transmission would utilize offshore wind lease areas more fully. In an unplanned system, after each developer interconnects the bulk of their lease site, it may be cost-prohibitive to interconnect the residual areas in the lease, forfeiting potential wind power. A planned transmission approach utilizing more efficient direct current technology would reduce losses and deliver more power to shore than alternating current technology utilized to date.

To learn more about the Brattle report, please visit Anbaric’s website.