Hurricane risk to offshore wind farms is study focus

Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm Off the Coast of Norfolk, U.K.

Researchers from the United States will be studying hurricane risks associated with planned offshore wind installations along America’s Atlantic coast.

$650,000 will be combined from New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland for the research project Ensuring Long-term Access and Bankability Offshore Wind through Hurricane Risk Assessments and Mitigation.

Northeastern University will be the lead of the project with expected support from Johns Hopkins University and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“We expect this proposal to remove a significant amount of the uncertainty associated with conjectures about hurricane risk with a targeted, industry-driven series of investigations that span from basic atmospheric science to highly applied OSW engineering,” said Jerome Hajjar, project lead, and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern.

Join us on April 13th for the next Renewable +Series webinar We will be discussing the future of floating offshore wind in America and the lessons learned from Texas’ 2021 winter freeze. Register here.

The National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium said that “relatively little technical research” has examined hurricane risks for offshore wind assets along the Atlantic coast.

A decade ago, before any commercial-scale offshore wind projects were approved, Carnegie Mellon University and Department of Energy conducted a study that determined that the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic coast, were the most dangerous places to place offshore wind turbines in the United States.

Researchers found that Galveston County in Texas is the most dangerous location for an offshore wind project. Dare County, North Carolina was second.

The study’s biggest problem was that the projections were based on historical wind speeds. However, this is a known blind spot. Climate scientists now believe that global warming is causing more severe and more frequent storms.

Courtesy: BOEM

Offshore wind installations’ resilience will be crucial in meeting the goal of 30 GW by 2030 set by the Biden administration. The offshore wind targets have been set by the states that financially supported the study.

New York Bight’s offshore wind lease auction, which concluded recently, raised a record $4.37 Billion for companies interested in developing six areas off the New York and New Jersey coasts. Vineyard Wind 1, Massachusetts’ first commercial-scale offshore project, will soon be completed. According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Maryland could be subject to a lease auction for offshore development rights in 2023.

  • John Engel is the Renewable Energy World Content Director. John Engel has been a journalist covering sports, news and politics for the past ten years. He lives in Asheville with his wife Malia.

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