By: William O’Hearn
On Tuesday, February 13, NYSERDA senior staffers held a webinar to update the community on the release of the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan, and the action steps that the state and industry would be taking in 2018 to move New York’s offshore wind projects forward.
Doreen Harris opened the session with an introduction that included New York’s goal of 2400 MW (megawatts) by 2030, part of the state’s larger objective of 50 percent of the state’s electricity coming from renewable sources by that year. She outlined the Offshore Wind Master Plan, a wealth of information that runs 60 pages, plus 20 studies/appendices that include hundreds of pages of data on ports, infrastructure, cables, marine mammals, and much more (the Fish and Fisheries section alone is 202 pages). Doreen emphasized the extended efforts the agency has made in outreach and providing information to the community throughout the planning development process.
Greg Lampman dug deeper into the Studies section, and described some of the science behind the studies. He noted that the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) “break” where the shelf abruptly plunges into deeper water emerged as a key sensitive area because of the wide range of wildlife found there, and that spring is the season that poses the greatest risk to ocean environmental health. Greg also covered NYSERDA’s Areas for Consideration proposal for additional wind areas south of Long Island.
Matt Vestal then presented on an area that may be of special interest to offshore wind insiders, the Offshore Wind Supply Chain. He explained that the Master Plan contained a study of more than 60 port possibilities in New York, and research on the workforce opportunities under various offshore wind growth scenarios, with Operations and Maintenance (O&M) providing the most work hours for a skilled labor force.
Matt described the $15 million in workforce development and infrastructure advancement that accompanied the Master Plan, and the Governor’s call for a total of 800 MW in solicitations for 2018 and 2019. The state’s procurement options are laid out in detail in an important supporting document, the Offshore Wind Policy Options Paper, which is available on the NYSERDA website. He noted that NYSERDA will be holding a technical conference on March 8 to continue the discussion on supply chain issues.
Doreen returned to outline ongoing activities, noting that the public engagement events will continue and the formation of four
Technical Working Groups:
- Environmental, including NYSERDA staff and state regulators
- Commercial and Recreational Fishing, chaired by NY DEC
- Maritime, led by NY Department of State and US Coast Guard
- Jobs and Supply Chain, led by NYSERDA.
NYSERDA will also supervise additional studies on metocean data, air quality and wildlife, and continue to do research on offshore wind component and system design. The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) will proceed with its work on energy procurement options, grid development and cost containment for ratepayers. Overall, it shapes up to be a milestone year for New York and the offshore wind industry as a whole.