Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Four essays on offshore wind power potential, development, regulatory framework, and integration
by Dhanju, Amardeep, Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2010, 218; 3423406
Abstract (Summary)

Offshore wind power is an energy resource whose potential in the US has been recognized only recently. There is now growing interest among the coastal states to harness the resource, particularly in states adjacent to the Mid-Atlantic Bight where the shallow continental shelf allows installation of wind turbines using the existing foundation technology. But the promise of bountiful clean energy from offshore wind could be delayed or forestalled due to policy and regulatory challenges. This dissertation is an effort to identify and address some of the important challenges. Focusing on Delaware as a case study it calculates the extent of the wind resource; considers one means to facilitate resource developmentā€”the establishment of statewide and regional public power authorities; analyzes possible regulatory frameworks to manage the resource in state-controlled waters; and assesses the use of distributed storage to manage intermittent output from wind turbines. In order to cover a diversity of topics, this research uses a multi-paper format with four essays forming the body of work.

The first essay lays out an accessible methodology to calculate offshore wind resource potential using publicly available data, and uses this methodology to access wind resources off Delaware. The assessment suggests a wind resource approximately four times the average electrical load in Delaware. The second essay examines the potential role of a power authority, a quasi-public institution, in lowering the cost of capital, reducing financial risk of developing and operating a wind farm, and enhancing regional collaboration on resource development and management issues. The analysis suggests that a power authority can lower the cost of offshore wind power by as much as 1/3, thereby preserving the ability to pursue cost-competitive development even if the current federal incentives are removed. The third essay addresses the existing regulatory void in state-controlled waters of Delaware. It outlines a regulatory framework touching on key elements such as the leasing system, length of tenure, and financial terms for allocating property rights. In addition, the framework also provides recommendations on environmental assessment that would be required prior to lease issuance. The fourth essay analyzes offshore wind power integration using electric thermal storage in housing units. It presents a model of wind generation, heating load and wind driven thermal storage to assess the potential of storage to buffer wind intermittency. The analysis suggests that thermal load matches the seasonal excess of offshore wind during winter months, and that electric thermal storage could provide significant temporal, spatial, and cost advantages for balancing output from offshore wind generation, while also converting a major residential load (space heating) now met by fossil fuels to low carbon energy resources.

Together, the four essays provide new analyses of policy, regulatory, and system integration issues that could impede resource development, and also analyze and recommend strategies to manage these issues.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kempton, Willett M.
Commitee: Firestone, Jeremy M., Milligan, Michael R., Udo, Victor E.
School: University of Delaware
Department: Marine Studies
School Location: United States -- Delaware
Source: DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Alternative Energy, Public policy, Energy
Keywords: Offshore wind power, Power authority, Regulatory framework, Thermal storage, Wind power, Wind power integration, Wind resource assessment
Publication Number: 3423406
ISBN: 978-1-124-24192-0
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