Other Studies and Reports

The U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) is a comprehensive summary of national and state-level employment, workforce, industry, occupation, unionization, demographic, and hiring information by energy technology groups. The USEER began in 2016 at the recommendation of the first Department of Energy Quadrennial Energy Review to better track and understand employment within key energy sectors that have been difficult to impossible to follow using other publicly available data sources. The study combines surveys of businesses with public labor data to produce estimates of employment and workforce characteristics.

The main take away:
“[T]he Commission finds that NYSERDA should take steps to preserve the future mesh offshore grid option. The cost of including this flexibility in project design at this stage is modest and would reduce the cost of retrofitting facilities in the future if the Commission concludes that such a network will benefit New York’s ratepayers. As we evaluate the meshed offshore grid option, NYSERDA shall include eligibility criteria in its offshore wind procurements that would require proposals to incorporate measures that allow the project to integrate into a future mesh system. All bids should include the incremental mesh-ready designs needed to support a potential future mesh network.”

In October 2021, BOEM announced a proposed schedule for seven new OSW lease area auctions across the United States by 2025. These include areas in the New York Bight, Northern & Central California, Carolina Long Bay, Oregon, the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of Maine, and the Central Atlantic. The report estimates the leases will generate lease sale revenues for BOEM of $1.6-bn to $2.7-bn and operating revenues of a much as $4.5-bn over the coming decades. The lease areas will support 23-40 GW of new OSW representing $120-bn of investment. Construction will support 73,000-128,000 jobs while there will be a further 28,000-48,000 permanent jobs in O&M in the supply chain in communities surrounding over the life of the project.

This report finds that current US transmission planning processes are overwhelmingly reactive, routinely ignore realistic projections of the future resource mix, how the transmission system is utilized during severe weather events, and the economies of scale and scope that can reduce total costs. These deficiencies (and others) yield an inefficient patchwork of incremental transmission projects and they limit the planning processes’ ability to identify more cost-effective investments. The report details better and cheaper methodologies. It is included here since (page 4-6) it discusses the results of PJM’s July 2021 tender for OSW transmission capacity.

Mayor de Blasio and New York City (NYC) Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced a 15-year, $191 million Offshore Wind Vision (OSW) plan to ready New York City for OSW. The plan also seeks to ensure NYC meets climate goals of 100% clean electricity by 2040 and carbon neutrality by 2050. NYC will make commitments focused on 3 core areas: sites & infrastructure, business & workforce, and research & innovation. The plan outlines how the city will expand its manufacturing sector to build, stage, and install wind turbines, and ensure they can be serviced and powered locally.

The first national tool designed to hold state legislators accountable for their votes on important state climate and environmental justice legislation. It provides users with the power to see how 3,375 state legislators in 25 U.S. states voted on 1,107 critical climate and environmental justice bills. Designed primarily to hold legislators accountable, to their electorates, for their campaign promises; it should also be of value to Danish (and other) investors as they ascertain the best state legislators with whom to have meaningful discussions on optimal clean energy investment locations. Scorecard proponents are expanding this beyond the existing 25 states.

Three years after it was first announced, it is finally public: NREL’s SEAM Study. The study examines the potential economic value of increasing electricity transfer between the Eastern and Western Interconnections using HVDC transmission and cost-optimizing both generation and transmission resources across the US. The study conducted a multi-model analysis that used co-optimized generation and transmission expansion planning and production cost modeling. Four transmission designs under eight scenarios were developed and studied to estimate costs and potential benefits. The results show benefit-to-cost ratios that reach as high as 2.9, indicating significant value to increasing the transmission capacity between the interconnections.

The study analyzes the generation costs and GHGs of a future resource mix for Duke Energy that achieves the requirements outlined in North Carolina’s House Bill 951 and minimizes additional development of fossil gas capacity. H951, passed in July 2021, requires Duke Energy to develop replacement plans for retiring several coal plants and to increase renewable resource capacity additions. The study concludes that, by shifting its resource mix from coal and gas resources to renewable energy and battery storage, Duke could achieve 70%+ GHG emissions reductions by 2030 (relative to 2005) while lowering generation costs.

The “Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report: 2021 Edition” provides detailed information on the U.S. and global offshore wind energy industries to inform policymakers, researchers, and analysts about technology and market trends. The scope of the report covers the status of over 200 global operating offshore wind energy projects through December 31, 2020, and provides the status of, and analysis on, a broader global pipeline of projects in various stages of development. To provide the most up-to-date discussion of this evolving industry, this report also tracks the most significant domestic developments and events from January 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021. If you read only one report this year on US offshore wind: make it this one!

By the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California: The report finds that OSW presents a number of attractive system, economic, and environmental attributes for California’s electric grid and may help to achieve the goals outlined in SB 100. It finds OSW is increasingly competitive with gas-peaker plants and solar/storage; that it has a generation profile complementary with solar, is a consistent generation source with high capacity factors, and, with proper transmission resources, can inject power directly into heavily populated coastal load centers. It identifies various other benefits including “resource cost savings of at least $1-bn annually.”

It is not surprising that this conservative organization concludes that policymakers should dramatically increase appropriations for research, development, and deployment of a suite of technologies, including advanced nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (as well as electric transmission lines, and battery storage). Nonetheless, the report’s findings are notable in that substantial power sector emission reductions in the last 10 years have been relatively easy – the really hard work lies ahead.

Commissioned by the Business Network for Offshore Wind and compiled by Ramboll. This report is very high level which reflects the emerging nature of floating OSW (FOSW) in the US and globally. Nonetheless, it looks at the various US regions where there are opportunities, highlights relevant policy initiatives, assesses the technology and flags the enormous potential. Worth a read for anyone looking for background on US FOSW but don’t expect a whole lot of detail.

The 2021 Clean Energy Labor Supply report from BW Research Partnership, released by the American Clean Power Association, details current clean energy employment and unionization rates, revealing how many Americans across the country are already working in clean energy jobs. Based on two scenarios of renewables deployment — 50% and 70% of electricity generated from renewables by 2030 — study projections show there would be material shortages in the workers required. The country will need over 40,000 electricians, 9,000 welders, 7,000 wind technicians, and a host of other workers above-and-beyond labor projections.

This report focuses on job creation in the construction and O&M segments of the global wind industry – reflecting a small but vital fraction of the positive economic effects brought by wind energy. The fraction covered in this report alone encompasses nearly 500,000 jobs required over the next five years to install and maintain the 470 GW of on- and off-shore wind projects which GWEC estimates will be built in the 2021-2025 period.

Fascinating for what it says about the future of US electricity generation. This report analyzed data from all seven ISOs/RTOs in concert with 35 non-ISO utilities, representing an estimated 85% of all U.S. electricity load. It finds over 750 GW of generation and an estimated 200 GW of storage capacity, in the interconnection queue, as of the end of 2020. Solar (462 GW) accounts for the largest – and growing – share of generator capacity with wind the second largest at 209 GW. Of the wind total; 29% is OSW (61 GW).

Not US or DK offshore wind nonetheless included because of what it says about the shifting workforce in a national economy dominated by oil and gas since the 1970s. Specifically: The UK offshore energy workforce mix is expected to change with over 65% of the workforce by 2030 projected to support low carbon energy activities. Of the circa 200,000 people projected to be directly and indirectly employed in the UK offshore energy sector by 2030. about 90,000 (c. 45%) are projected to support offshore wind, 70,000 (c. 35%) oil and gas, and 40,000 (c. 20%) other offshore energy related activities.

This report identifies 22 high voltage transmission projects that could begin construction in the near term if more workable transmission policies are enacted. These shovel ready infrastructure projects could create up to 1.2 million jobs. Included in the list are two offshore wind transmission projects: which accounts for the underwater transmission to interconnect the first phases of OSW projects off New York and New England. These two projects are included as the offshore developments are in relatively advanced stages of development and have signed interconnection agreements, while in many cases the type of interconnection for other OSW projects is still being determined.

Wind energy has experienced accelerated cost reduction over the past five years—far greater than predicted in a 2015 expert elicitation. Here LBNL and NREL report results from a new survey on wind costs, compare those with previous results and discuss the accuracy of the earlier predictions. The study shows that 140 wind experts in 2020 expect future onshore and offshore wind costs to decline 37–49% by 2050, resulting in costs 50% lower than predicted in 2015. This is due to cost reductions witnessed over the past five years and expected continued advancements. If realized, these costs might allow wind to play a larger role in energy supply than previously anticipated.

In January 2018, NREL released offshore wind data sets and then in July 2020 published an article about novel techniques and tools to produce offshore wind speed data. Those tools – such as numerical weather prediction, ensemble modelling and buoy-mounted lidars – have borne fruit. The team has made enhanced data available for the outer continental shelf of California, the Mid-Atlantic, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest, with more on the way.

This report is largely a re-hash of data from previous reports nonetheless is a useful summary. Nineteen of the 29 states with OSW potential have the technical capacity to produce more electricity from OSW than they used in 2019. And 11 of them have the technical capacity to produce more electricity than they would use in 2050 if the country electrified homes and commercial buildings, transportation and industry. The US has the technical potential to produce more than 7,200 TWh of electricity from OSW, which is almost 2X US total 2019 electricity consumption and about 90% of the amount of electricity the nation would consume in 2050 if it transitioned all its buildings, transportation system and industry such that they were running on electricity instead of fossil fuels.

Always useful and a great source of data about the US clean energy sector, this is well worth a read. The 2021 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook is the ninth in a series documenting the revolution in U.S. energy production, delivery and consumption. This installment documents 2020, a tremendously tumultuous year defined by the spread of a deadly virus, the blossoming of a vital civil-rights movement, massive disruption to the economy and a deeply divisive presidential election.

Concentric was engaged by ACP, ACORE & SEIA to produce a report, based on interviews with industry stakeholders, to investigate the extent to which transmission planning processes in MISO, PJM & SPP have deficiencies that are resulting in the under-development of cost-competitive renewables. It found: The availability of backbone transmission (345kv+) is critical to renewables uptake. The focus of transmission planning processes in SPP, MISO, and PJM has been on developing solutions to meet current reliability and economic needs. Those processes were not designed to identify the necessary transmission expansion to enable future renewable energy development. The result is poor transmission planning and deficient cost allocation + sub-optimal uptake of renewables.

This report looks at the employment opportunities for mariners arising from OSW development in New York and other North-eastern states. The OSW build-out scenario used for this study is based on the procurement schedules of states in the Northeast i.e. New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts: this represents a total of 23.5 GW by 2035. The report finds there are 2,572 job-years of supplemental work available between now and 2035 and a little more than half of these opportunities will require minimal training. It also lists the roles available.

As one might expect for something from the Harvard Law Review: this is detailed but is included as the Federal Power Act (FPA) created the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and plays a critical role in regulating state’s rights vs. those of the federal government. Those rights have been under siege for the last four years by an Administration which, most notably, claimed that states do not have the right to select their preferred generation mix which, in most cases, involves supporting renewables. Part of the challenge has been the legal argument that the FPA is no longer fit for purpose. This paper argues that it remains as valid today as in 1920. Well worth a read.

This report calls on FERC to address the problem of incremental progress in building regional transmission infrastructure by moving the industry away from its past balkanized structure with relatively weak connections between utility systems towards a more reliable and efficient system allowing for more regional exchange of power. The report is not written with OSW in mind, but FERC will have a significant role to play in facilitating an offshore transmission grid and many of the issues highlighted in this paper (specifically planning and cost allocation) are directly relevant to the offshore grid.

AWEA released a Wood Mackenzie study that details the potential of wind, solar, energy storage, hydropower, and other renewables to unlock impressive economic growth and achieve majority renewable electricity generation by 2030. The report finds that reaching a 50% renewables grid will: 1) Deploy over $1 trillion in capital. 2) Support nearly a million direct jobs. 3) Stabilize wholesale power prices and preserve grid stability and 4) Reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 60%+. It foresees as much as 53 GW of OSW installed by 2030 (page 7) and notes “bridging the gap between ‘majority clean’ and 100% by 2030 will be a significant challenge.”

Given US Jones Act requirements, this Government Accountability Office (GAO) report examines US OSW industry approaches to – and challenges with – delivering the expected OSW pipeline of projects. Of the various vessel types, it finds significant challenges with only one: Jack-Ups. Solutions are two-fold: Jones Act-compliant vessel (about 20% more expensive than internationally) and Jones Act-compliant feeders. Other major challenges: Permitting delays, Vessel Contracting/Project Pipeline,  Shipyard capacity & building expertise and Port limitations. Informative!

Offers 2021 priorities for the White House, administrative agencies, and Congress to achieve rapid deployment of renewables to start the nation on the path toward meeting the goals in President-elect Biden’s Plan for a Clean Energy Future of 100% clean electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. Includes executive orders the incoming Biden administration could immediately take in its first 100 Days; regulatory actions for Federal administrative bodies and items for Congress.

The Transmission White Paper considers the complex regulatory ecosystem that governs both offshore wind transmission planning and the broader planning of the electricity grid. The White Paper identifies six recommendations that it maintains should be considered by grid operators and policymakers as they plan how best to resolve the “chicken and egg” challenge of generation versus transmission development. One comment: it is very focused on the benefits of a shared transmission but more coverage of the potential challenges and costs would lend credibility to the final conclusions.

An excellent report by the Regulatory Assistance Project which, although about the European Union’s target of 25% of total EU electricity from offshore wind by 2050, contains many valuable lessons for US states. Those recommendations touch on the nature of the OSW transmission system, adoption of a coordinated approach to delivery (including regional harmonization of various offshore support mechanisms, development of a regulatory framework which encourages a shared approach of offshore connections, moving to a more contestable approach to offshore (and related onshore) transmission investment, creating market designs which allow for hybrid OSW farm connections and the development of Power2X), coordination in states’ regulatory frameworks and more.

This report analyzed clean energy wages, benefits and unionization rates across all five clean energy sectors (renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, clean fuels, clean vehicles, and grid modernization and storage) with detailed demographic data for 15 specific clean energy occupations, and how they compare with similar jobs in other industries. Also detailed in the report are state-specific wage findings for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 i.e. 25% more than the national median wage of $19.14.

Packed full of useful data on the US OSW industry including leases, projects, cost trends and more. This work defines the OSW project pipeline as potential offshore wind development indicated by developer announcements or by areas made available for OSW development by regulatory agencies. It includes recent developments and events in the US through March 31, 2020, projects that have been completed before March 31, 2020, and selectively covers significant industry events through August 2020. It also has an overview of similar data on a global level.

This study provides a framework to investigate how offshore wind power varies along the Central California Coast over diurnal and seasonal time scales, which is critical for reliability and functionality of the grid system. It finds that offshore wind power in this region peaks during evening hours across all seasons and maximizes in spring and summer. The timing of peak offshore wind power production better aligns with that of peak demand across California than solar and land-based wind power production, highlighting its potential to fill the supply gap when demand is high and power production from other renewable energy sources is low.

This plan details how the state will develop 7.5 GW of offshore wind (OSW) energy over the next 15 years. It includes stakeholder input, scientific evaluations, economic analyses, and recommendations for a path forward. It is designed as guidance to the industry on how best to develop the industry in a way which maximizes benefits for NJ residents. Five key subject areas are evaluated and incorporated within the Plan: Environmental and Natural Resources Protection, Fisheries, Supply Chain and Workforce, Ports and Harbors, Energy Markets and Transmission.

The Schatz Energy Research Center, part of Humboldt State University’s Environmental Resources Engineering program, completed a comprehensive series of analyses of potential floating OSW options offshore Northern California. The first report in the series, provides a description of the wind farm scenarios in the North Coast Offshore Wind Study including an overview of the different wind farms, maps of the region, as well as a presentation of the technical details that form the basis of analysis.

The California Energy Commission funded this study to develop priority recommendations that would lead to cost-effective offshore wind projects. The study identifies 11 research, development, and deployment opportunities to remove or reduce technological, manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain barriers to deployment; lower the development risk of offshore energy projects; and identify opportunities for early pilot demonstration projects.