Nearshore Wind in the U.S. Southeast

A Technically and Economically Viable Solution for Complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Energy, Power & Products

May 28, 2015

wind turbines by the shore

This white paper examines the potential role that nearshore wind could play in U.S. Southeast (“SE”) Coastal States under the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (“CPP”). Nearshore here is defined as areas that are located on or near the coastline, and SE Coastal States are defined as Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Nearshore wind is compelling in the SE for two reasons. First, wind speeds are within typical ranges for wind economics to make sense, while this is not true for much of the SE inland. Second, nearshore wind is less capital intensive than offshore wind, which could make the cost/integration risk, whether perceived or real, more amenable to utilities in the SE where wind integration would be a new issue.

FTI Consulting applied the PLEXOS electricity model to assess whether nearshore wind can play a role in helping states meet EPA’s proposed CPP. The CPP sets state-level emission rate targets from 2020 to 2030 that apply to existing generators. Renewables, such as wind, are one of the four options under the CPP to reduce CO2 emissions from existing generators.

Our analysis found that nearshore wind presents a technically and economically viable option for SE Coastal States. We project that 1400–2200 MW of new, nearshore wind capacity could be built in the two CPP scenarios modeled.

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