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NY to study European transmission, ownership models of offshore wind farms

New York will conduct a study to guide cost-effective offshore wind development as the state prepares to procure 2,400 MW of offshore wind power by 2030.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 8 announced a memorandum of understanding that New York power agencies and partners signed to study successful offshore wind transmission models to determine the best way forward for the state's offshore wind procurements. The Cuomo administration said the study will focus on examining large-scale European offshore wind projects.

The New York Power Authority will lead the study, which aims to learn from European infrastructure designs, best practices in connecting wind-generated power to transmission networks and the power grid, and successes in reducing the cost of delivering wind energy to customers.

The state-run New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, the statewide power grid operator the New York ISO, utility Consolidated Edison Inc., and the Long Island Power Authority will collaborate with the New York Power Authority on the initial phase of the research.

The Cuomo administration said the study will help determine the infrastructure needed to support the governor's aggressive offshore wind targets and enable the state and offshore wind developers to implement those projects in an informed, cost-effective manner, thereby reducing ratepayer costs.

A press release said the study will focus especially on physical designs, including radial and network connections and interconnections between the projects and onshore transmission systems. It will also look at ownership structures, business models and financing approaches used in each jurisdiction as well as the regulatory approaches governing transmission development and cost recovery.

As part of the larger goal to procure 2,400 MW of offshore wind by 2030, the state Public Service Commission in July authorized NYSERDA to issue the first phase of solicitations for 800 MW of offshore wind in 2018 and 2019. The PSC also instructed NYSERDA to take immediate steps to study transmission solutions for the second phase and to consider long-term configurations for cost-effective transmission of offshore wind and various options for ownership and planning processes.

The study, due in the fall, will help shape the second phase of the offshore wind procurements.