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Publication Date
1 February 2024

The Benefits of Moving Wind Turbines Offshore

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Comparative analyses of wind resources and projected power production quantity and quality at onshore and offshore locations have been hampered by the lack of high-quality hub-height wind speed observations. Here we use output from large-scale atmospheric models along with uniquely detailed LiDAR measurements from an onshore profiler network and offshore campaign to compare projections of potential power generation quantity and quality from offshore and onshore wind farms in New York State.


The United States government has set a goal of reaching carbon net neutral emissions from the power generation sector by 2035 and a carbon net neutral economy by 2050  As part of this plan, the U.S. Department of Interior is committed to deploying 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2030. However, in 2021, 93% of electrical power produced by global wind turbines was derived from those deployed in onshore rather than offshore wind farms, partly due to the higher investment required for offshore wind power installation. Here we quantitively compare both the amount of electricity likely to be generated from wind turbines deployed on- and off-shore and important aspects of power quality related to grid integration and our ability to forecast electricity generation.


Here, for the first time, data from large scale atmospheric models and measurements from remote sensing networks are used to quantitatively compare the power generation quantity and quality from wind turbines at sites onshore in New York state and offshore in New York Bight. Energy density at 150 m height based on data from lidars on offshore buoys is more than 40% 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. Although the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) is higher for offshore sites (mainly due to the higher infrastructure costs), there are clear benefits to moving offshore in terms of the predictability, overall quantity, and persistence of electricity from wind turbines. 

Point of Contact
Sara C Pryor
Cornell University
Funding Program Area(s)