The Case for Floating Offshore Wind in Massachusetts

Since the proposal of the Cape Wind project off of Martha's Vineyard in 2001, offshore wind has been a tantalizing, yet controversial form of local renewable energy production for Massachusetts. With the recent mandate by the MA legislature to contract 1.6GW of offshore wind by 2027, the market is starting to heat up. The existing outer continental shelf (OCS) leases, currently held by Deepwater Wind, Vineyard Wind and Ørsted Energy, are in water depths from 30-60m. Within the industry, it is well-regarded that these water depths are generally best suited for fixed-foundation, jacket-type structures. However, at depths greater than 50m, which amounts to nearly one-third of the Vineyard Wind and Ørsted Energy leases, small-draft floating foundations, such as the WindFloat, may be the most cost-effective solution. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for a floating offshore wind farm is highly sensitive to not only the cost of the foundation, itself, but also the cost of installation and operation and maintenance activities, which can be effected by external factors, such as the Jones Act. The case for the consideration of small-draft, floating-type foundations in certain areas of the MA OCS leases is presented. An overview of the commercialization effort of the WindFloat platform at Principle Power Inc is discussed, along with ongoing research efforts.   

Dr. Sam Kanner received his PhD from the University of California Berkeley in 2015. He received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship as well as the DoD National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. His thesis work contributed to the fields of unsteady wind turbine aerodynamics, second-order hydrodynamics of multi-column platforms, as well as hybrid testing of marine structures. At PPI, Sam is a naval architect in the aerodynamics/hydrodynamics team as well as the R&D team. His research interests include computational fluid dynamics of wind turbines and semi-submersible platforms, algorithms for the reduction of multi-dimensional metocean states, open-ocean aquaculture, and wave energy platforms. Sam is a native of Amherst, Massachusetts. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 4:00pm
E-Lab 2, Kellogg Room (Rm.118)