Shared cabling infrastructure to meet future US offshore demand explored

US study launched to address cable landfall and onshore constraint issues expected as offshore wind farms are built off the east coast

The US is expected to face challenges connecting its offshore wind farms to the grid (pic credit: Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)

Consultancy OWC is set to research cable landfall and onshore constraint issues related to the expected growth in new offshore wind farms in the US.

It will explore the potential for coordinating use of transmission to enable multiple offshore wind farms to use the same landfall location and potentially the same onshore cable corridor.

As part of the study, OWC will identify a reference project – such as multiple wind farms in the New York Bight – and then develop a concept case design for sharing landfall and onshore infrastructure to accommodate extra export cables. It will then compare the cost of doing this to connecting a similar project with separate grid infrastructure.

OWC was awarded a $240,000 contract to carry out the study by US public-private partnership the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC). The NOWRDC is funded by the US department of energy, the New York state energy research and development authority (Nyserda) and the state governments of Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland and Maine.

Transmission cables from offshore wind farms off the US’s east coast are likely to make landfall in congested and environmentally sensitive areas where space is scarce, the researchers explained. Additionally, onshore cable installation is expensive and the construction works can disturb the environment.

OWC’s country manager in the US, Jeff Fodiak, explained that using the same landfall location and onshore cable corridors could increase cost efficiency and simplify permitting and construction works.