Anbaric Transmission, which develops submarine transmission systems in the United States, has filed interconnection requests with ISO New England to deliver 2,000 MW of offshore wind generation to the region’s electric grid.
“We actually proposed two 1,000 MW radial lines, so they would be two separate systems that would connect into two different spots of the New England grid,” Bryan Sanderson, a senior vice president of Anbaric Transmission, told TransmissionHub Nov. 29, of the proposed Bay State Offshore Wind Transmission System project.
Each line will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 50 miles long, he said, noting that the offshore locations for the converter stations have not been selected yet. “It’ll be HVDC voltage source converter technology,” he said, adding that the company is targeting 2017 as the project’s in-service date.
It is still early in the development process to come out with an estimated cost, Sanderson said.
The filings with the ISO were made in mid-November. “We’re currently just about to initiate the study process with ISO New England,” he said. That process includes a “system impact study” through which the ISO will look at the thermal and voltage overloads on the rest of the grid due to the interconnection of the proposed project, Sanderson said.
If all goes as planned, construction may begin in 2014 or 2015.
According to a Nov. 14 statement, the project follows an “enthusiastic response” by wind developers to a request for interest issued by the U.S. Departent of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in late 2010. Responses from 10 wind developers proposing as much as 8,000 MW of potential offshore wind projects were received, the company said.
One project that is arguably the furthest along in the country is offshore Massachusetts: Cape Wind Associates’ Cape Wind project. Energy Management’s Cape Wind received the nation’s first lease for commercial wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf last year.
“[T]he distance from shore (over 25 miles for each project) means it is not practical or economically efficient for each of the 10 developers who responded to the BOEM RFI to develop their own DC transmission line to bring their power ashore,” Anbaric President Ed Krapels said in the statement. “We’ll provide them a lower cost solution that capitalizes on our expertise in high voltage direct current … systems and allows them to focus on the wind development.”
Sanderson said developing the transmission independent of the wind projects can cut costs for the offshore wind by 10% to 20%. “We think that there are a lot of wind generators out there that don’t want to be transmission owners and we can provide economies of scale to multiple wind farms to connect to a single system, rather than having each one of them developing their own radial ties to the grid.”
Ideally, he said, the transmission project would connect from the federal waters south of the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard islands and bring the energy to shore in Massachusetts.
“The number one impediment to the offshore wind industry right now is the lack of a clear policy framework for developing and building the wind farms,” he said, noting that the federal government has been lacking in federal energy policy. “I think it’s going to be led by the states, and what they need to do is provide some clear targets and goals for the offshore wind development and provide a competitive landscape through which the wind developers can compete to win contracts for the energy offtake.”
Anbaric was one of the developers behind the Neptune Regional Transmission System as well as the Hudson Transmission Project, both in the mid-Atlantic region.