AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER 2015 Conference & Exhibition

Event Type: 
Amy Chiang
Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 9:00am to Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 4:30pm
Baltimore, MD
Event Sponsor: 
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

Program Chairs have developed an outstanding educational agenda which includes 6 informative sessions over the course of two days.

Project Design, Siting & Permitting Track
Offshore Wind Farm Environmental Costs and Benefits: A Spatial Analysis for Siting in Lake Michigan

9/29/2015   12:45 PM - 1:30 PM
Amy Chiang
Graduate Student Research Assistant, University of Michigan

Wind farms have many positive environmental benefits, but it is important to quantify these benefits in order to compare with other costs impacts when making wind farm siting decisions. Prior work looked at the investment costs and view damage costs of offshore wind farms (OWFs) in Lake Michigan which were portrayed as spatial maps. These calculations were mainly a function of spatial qualities (such as depth and distance) with higher investment costs at deeper locations and higher view damage costs near highly dense shorelines. This assessment of OWFs in Lake Michigan resulted in determining the lowest cost locations for future project development. In this continuation of spatial cost assessment, the environmental benefit from abated electricity grid emissions and cost from construction emissions is added into the total cost assessment. The environmental impacts on the lowest cost location can be determined. Accurately modelling the wind resource assessment and power generation is necessary to determine the correct electricity abated from the grid and therefore accurate emission abatement (CO2, NOx, SO2) values. Since electricity demands vary over the day/month/season, the time component of how much wind generation is produced at which hour is very important in assessing the emission abatement. During baseload power generation, coal is typically used for generation, so emission offsets would be much higher compared to emission offsets of intermittent or peaking plants using natural gas. Taking the accurate emissions abated, the damage cost (such as social cost of carbon) for the pollutant can be applied. The emissions impact from the production of the offshore wind farm is determined based on construction and transportation considerations. The final environmental cost includes both the pollutant damage costs and the emissions from the construction stage. In general, this spatial map demonstrates lower environmental costs further from shore due to a higher wind resource, but also lower environmental impacts when close to shore due to a simpler offshore wind farm foundation and distance. The end result of this research is a spatial assessment tool for decision makers trying to weigh the impacts of investment cost, view damage cost, and environmental costs.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion, participants will be able to compare offshore wind farm sites based on investment, view damage, and environmental costs and visualize the trends of each cost
Upon completion, participants will be able to identify the dominating factor that contributes most to investment, view damage, and environmental impacts
Upon completion, participants will be able to develop a simplified model analyzing environmental costs and benefits to site offshore wind farms in any location

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