Wakefield, Massachusetts—Anbaric was pleased to participate on the Advisory Panel to the Brattle Group’s report The Benefits and Urgency of Planned Offshore Wind Transmission: Reducing the Costs of and Barriers to Achieving U.S. Clean Energy Goals and supports the report’s core finding that improved planning and coordination is needed to reduce costs and minimize community and environmental impacts. Additional, concrete steps not included in the report are now needed to build on the momentum of the Inflation Reduction Act and other once-in-a generation measures to start the build-out of a lower-cost, lower- impact offshore wind transmission system.
“Continuing offshore wind development requires independent, shared transmission that will minimize seabed cabling and shore crossings, reduce overall costs, and build an ocean grid that mirrors and enhances the functionality of the onshore grid,” said Clarke Bruno, CEO of Anbaric. “Certain regions, especially New England and Mid-Atlantic states around the Chesapeake Bay, are well positioned now to begin the staged build-out of an offshore grid,” Bruno continued. “European countries are doing this now; there is no reason that the United States should delay,” Bruno said.
As offshore wind farms begin to take shape, development of optimized transmission solutions for offshore wind must begin now. As cited in the Brattle report, United Kingdom grid operator National Grid found that delaying development of optimized transmission by just five years would increase costs by more than $7 billion and lead to 50% more transmission construction on and offshore.
Among the report’s recommendations, two overarching actions are needed to optimize the buildout of offshore wind transmission and reduce costs:
- The Internal Revenue Service should affirm that offshore wind transmission owned by independent transmission developers and offshore wind companies is eligible for the Investment Tax Credit. This would reduce ratepayer costs by billions of dollars, build on precedent for other energy technologies, and align with Congressional intent.
- Standards should be established to ensure that offshore wind transmission systems can connect with each other to operate in a network or “mesh” configuration. Standards could build on those proposed by New York and New Jersey, enhanced to include independent, modular transmission systems through the New England States Transmission Initiative.
In addition to the steps outlined in the report, states should run procurements for independent transmission systems to integrate the next round of offshore wind projects. The Department of Energy should provide federal funding to support initial components of the ocean grid needed to integrate dozens of offshore wind farms while minimizing impacts on the marine ecosystem and affected communities. New England should immediately procure the initial high-capacity HVDC components of the Modular Offshore Wind Integration Plan described in the New England States Transmission Initiative. Mid-Atlantic states such as Maryland can be in a similar position, with an embrace of additional offshore wind goals.
Competition will be critical to minimize costs and promote innovative solutions. Brattle Group’s 2019 report Cost Savings Offered by Competition in Electric Transmission found that competitive procurement generates 20% to 30% cost savings, and an analysis by the United Kingdom grid operator also found that competition across independent owners of offshore transmission resulted in similar cost savings.
Brattle’s report makes an important contribution to efforts to build optimized, least-regrets transmission for offshore wind. With sufficient information and tools in hand, states and the federal government must now procure the initial segments necessary to build the ocean grid needed to scale offshore wind and address climate change.
About Anbaric Development Partners
Anbaric is a US-based company focused on planning and scaling renewable energy. Anbaric develops clean energy infrastructure to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy across North America, specializing in the design, development, financing, and construction of large-scale electric transmission and storage systems. For more information visit anbaric.com.