For what it’s worth, here are my main take-aways from the new LIPA Fact Sheet (attached below with highlights added) on the South Fork Wind Farm:
1. South Fork Wind Farm was the least cost solution to meet increasing electric demand on the South Fork and New York’s renewable energy mandates.
2. LIPA’s share of New York State’s 9,000 MW offshore wind target is over 1,000 MW and SF Wind Farm is the first of many projects to meet the Long Island goal.
3. The South Fork RFP Portfolio (Wind+Storage+Demand Response) will cost the average residential customer on LI between $1.39 and $1.57 per month.
4. The price LIPA pays for the 90 MW SFWF starts at 16 c/kWh; the price for the additional 40 MW (contracted in Nov. ’18) starts at 8.6 c/kWh (this additional energy was the lowest cost renewable energy ever on LI at the time). The combined cost for the 130 MW would be about 13.7c/kWh in the first year. Prices escalate at an average 2% per year for 20 years.
5. Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) over 20 years for the combined 130 MW SFWF is 14.1¢/kwh (in 2018 dollars, using a 6.5% discount rate). Cost of other planned projects in the region are projected to be significantly lower but an ‘apple-to-apple’ comparison is difficult because these projects are much larger and benefit from economies of scale. They were also selected later and thus benefitted from lower industry price levels.
6. Prices for offshore wind power have declined rapidly in Europe due to increased investment and improving technology and we are now seeing price declines in the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry.
7. LIPA’s future offshore wind purchases will total over 800 MW, and will cost less as a result of expected price decreases. LIPA will also buy an estimated 90 MW of offshore wind from the recently announced 1,700 MW of New York State projects (by NYSERDA).
8. As a result of procuring offshore wind power spread out over many years (a decade or so) as prices decline, LIPA’s overall offshore wind portfolio cost will be minimized.
9. When comparing costs of renewable energy to conventional sources we also need to account for costs which are typically not accounted for such as the cost of air pollution, climate, unknown fuel price risk, etc.
The bottom line, as I see it, is that all this demonstrates that the South Fork Wind Farm not only provides us with local, renewable and reliable power but does so at an affordable price. And over time we will get more and more offshore wind power at even lower prices. This will result in a very affordable average bill impact and could even provide significant savings over fossil fueled power if natural gas prices turn out to be higher than currently forecast.
I’m attaching a marked-up version of the LIPA Fact Sheet where I highlighted sections discussing some of the above points in context.
Authored by Paul Veers1,*, and 28 other scientists. Science 25 Oct 2019: Vol. 366, Issue 6464, eaau2027 DOI: 10.1126/science.aau2027
I have copied the abstract and tried to
sum up the salient points. Basically, the success of Wind (and Solar) energy, and
the predicted growth of the industry, has led to new challenges. Innovations are
needed to handle the predicted future demand for clean energy.
Harvested by advanced technical systems
honed over decades of research and development, wind energy has become a
mainstream energy resource. However, continued innovation is needed to realize
the potential of wind to serve the global demand for clean energy. Here, we
outline three interdependent, cross-disciplinary grand challenges
underpinning this research endeavor. The first is the need for a deeper
understanding of the physics of atmospheric flow in the critical zone
of plant operation. The second involves science and engineering of the
largest dynamic, rotating machines in the world. The third encompasses optimization
and control of fleets of wind plants working synergistically within the
electricity grid. Addressing these challenges could enable wind power
to provide as much as half of our global electricity needs and perhaps beyond.
Abundant, affordable energy in many
forms has enabled notable human achievements, including modern food and
transportation infrastructure. Broad-based access to affordable and clean
energy will be critical to future human achievements and an elevated global
standard of living. However, by 2050, the global population will reach an
estimated 9.8 billion, up from ~7.6 billion in 2017 (1). Moreover, Bloomberg New Energy
Finance (BNEF) estimates suggest that annual global electricity demand could
exceed 38,000 terawatt-hours per year by 2050, up from ~25,000 terawatt-hours
in 2017 (2). The demand for low- or no-carbon
technologies for electricity is increasing, as is the need for electrifying
other energy sectors, such as heating and cooling and transport (2–4). As a result of these two partially
coupled megatrends, additional sources of low-cost, clean energy are
experiencing increasing demand around the globe. With a broadly available
resource and zero-cost fuel, as well as exceptionally low life-cycle pollutant
emissions, wind energy has the potential to be a primary contributor to the
growing clean energy needs of the global community.
During the past decade, the cost of
three major electricity sources—wind power, solar power, and natural gas—has
decreased substantially. Wind and solar are attractive because their low
life-cycle emissions offer public health and broader environmental benefits.
Leading energy forecasters such as consultancies, nongovernmental
organizations, and major energy companies—and specifically BNEF, DNV GL, the
International Energy Agency (IEA), and BP—anticipate continued price parity
among all of these sources, which will likely result in combined wind and
solar supplying between one- and two-thirds of the total electricity demand
and wind-only shares accounting for one-quarter to one-third across the globe
by 2050 (3–6). Tapping the potential terawatts of
wind energy that could drive the economic realization of these forecasts and
subsequently moving from hundreds of terawatt-hours per year to petawatt-hours
per year from wind and solar resources could provide an array of further
economic and environmental benefits to both local and global communities.
From a business perspective, at just
over 51 gigawatts of new wind installations in 2018 (7) and more than half a terawatt of
operating capacity, the global investment in wind energy is now ~$100
billion (U.S. dollars) per annum. The energy consultant DNV GL predicts
that wind energy demand and the scale of deployment will grow by a factor
of 10 by 2050, bringing the industry to the trillion-dollar scale (6) and positioning wind as one of the
primary sources of the world’s electricity generation.
However, to remain economically
attractive for investors and consumers, the cost of energy from wind must
continue to decrease (8, 9). Moreover, as deployment of
variable-output wind and solar generation infrastructure increases, new
challenges surface related to the adequacy of generation capacity on a
long-term basis and short-term balancing of the systems—both of which are
critical to maintaining future grid system stability and reliability (10–12).
A future in which wind energy
contributes one-third to more than one-half of consumed electricity, and in
which local levels of wind-derived power may exceed 100% of local demand, will
require a paradigm shift in how we think about, develop, and manage the
electric grid system (10–14). The associated transformation of the
power system in high-renewables scenarios will require simultaneous management
of large quantities of weather-driven, variable-output generation as well as
evolving and dynamic consumption patterns.
A key aspect of this future system is
the availability of large quantities of near-zero marginal cost energy, albeit
with uncertain timing. With abundant near-zero marginal cost energy, more
flexibility in the overall electricity system will allow many different end
users to access these “cheap” energy resources. Potential use cases for this energy
could entail charging a large number of electric vehicles, providing
inexpensive storage at different system sizes (consumer to industrial) and time
scales (days to months), or channeling into chemicals or other manufactured
products (sometimes referred to as “power-to-X” applications).
A second key aspect of this future system is the transition from an electric grid system centered on traditional synchronous generation power plants to one that is converter dominated (15). This latter paradigm reduces the physical inertia in the system currently provided by traditional power plants while increasing reliance on information and digital signals to maintain the robustness and power quality of the modern grid (12).
Here are some interesting figures from the this Review:
Our electricity currently comes from a mix of sources: Aging fossil fuel plants on Long Island, imported energy from “dirty” plants in neighboring regions and states, and small local peaker plants in East Hampton and Southampton. These sources all contribute to air pollution and the Climate Crisis, and are subject to volatile “rate shock”. Doesn’t it make sense to begin the move to clean, renewable Offshore Wind Energy?
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