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Publication Date
1 February 2024

Quantitative comparison of power production and power quality onshore and offshore: a case study from the eastern United States



A major issue in quantifying potential power generation from prospective wind energy sites is the lack of observations from heights relevant to modern wind turbines, particularly for offshore where blade tip heights are projected to increase beyond 250 m. We present analyses of uniquely detailed data sets from lidar (light detection and ranging) deployments in New York State and on two buoys in the adjacent New York Bight to examine the relative power generation potential and power quality at these on- and offshore locations. Time series of 10 min wind power production are computed from these wind speeds using the power curve from the International Energy Agency 15 MW reference wind turbine. Given the relatively close proximity of these lidar deployments, they share a common synoptic-scale meteorology and seasonal variability with lowest wind speeds in July and August. Time series of power production from the on- and offshore location are highly spatially correlated with the Spearman rank correlation coefficient dropping below 0.4 for separation distances of approximately 350 km. Hence careful planning of on- and offshore wind farms (i.e., separation of major plants by > 350 km) can be used reduce the system-wide probability of low wind energy power production. Energy density at 150 m height at the offshore buoys is more than 40 % higher, and the Weibull scale parameter is 2 m s−1 higher than at all but one of the land sites. Analyses of power production time series indicate annual energy production is almost twice as high for the two offshore locations. Further, electrical power production quality is higher from the offshore sites that exhibit a lower amplitude of diurnal variability, plus a lower probability of wind speeds below the cut-in and of ramp events of any magnitude. Despite this and the higher resource, the estimated levelized cost of energy (LCoE) is higher from the offshore sites mainly due to the higher infrastructure costs. Nonetheless, the projected LCoE is highly competitive from all sites considered.

Foody, Rebecca, Jacob J Coburn, Jeanie A. Aird, Rebecca J. Barthelmie, and Sara C. Pryor. 2024. “Quantitative Comparison Of Power Production And Power Quality Onshore And Offshore: A Case Study From The Eastern United States”. Wind Energy Science 9 (1). Copernicus GmbH: 263-280. doi:10.5194/wes-9-263-2024.
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