Research

To mitigate climate change, decarbonizing power systems is one critical solution. California government sets a goal to procure 100% electricity from renewables by 2045 (Senate Bill 100). A diversified energy portfolio with different forms of renewable sources can help achieve this renewable target and sustain the reliability of power systems. While offshore wind has become an important energy source in some countries, offshore wind development in California is at the planning stage as of writing (in 2020). Central California Coast contains two of three call areas for commercial development. My study on offshore wind in this region answers unknown questions that can hopefully inform stakeholders.

Assessment of wind data sets for offshore wind energy

Before estimating offshore wind resources, it is critical to identify the best wind data set along the Central California Coast, given that buoy measurements are unable to reveal wind speed across space and the best wind data set in other regions does not mean the best data set in this region. I evaluated the performance of multiple wind data sets, ranging from satellite observations to model simulations, in relation to buoy measurements and identified the best data set based on objective evaluation metrics.

    • Wang, Y-H., R. K. Walter, H Farr, C. White, and B. I. Ruttenburg, 2019: Assessment of the wind data sets for estimating offshore wind energy along the central California coast, Renewable Energy, doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2018.10.008.

Temporal and spatial variations in offshore wind power and its value

I used the best wind data set identified by the previous study to estimate power production variations across space and time. This study revealed the daily and seasonal patterns of offshore wind power, how they match with that of electricity demand and other variable renewable sources, and how the match influences the value of offshore wind power.

    • Wang, Y-H., R. Walter, C. White, M. D. Kehrli, S. Hamilton, P. H. Soper, and B. I. Ruttenberg, 2019: Spatial and temporal variation of offshore wind power and its value along the central California coast, Environmental Research Communications, https://doi.org/10.1088/2515-7620/ab4ee1.

Potential environmental effects of offshore wind development

In addition to wind resources, environmental and economical factors such as fishery are important to decision making in siting offshore wind farms. However, how offshore wind development affect and interact with environment and fishery is unclear as there isn’t any operational offshore wind farm in the west coast of the United States. To answer this question, I am analyzing fishery data and other environmental data and will integrate these analyses with the analyses of wind resource in order to identify high value and low impact sites for offshore wind development. This is an ongoing study, so please stay tuned for my update.

    • Farr, H., B. I. Ruttenberg, R. Walter, Y-H. Wang, C. White, 2020: Potential environmental effects of deepwater floating offshore wind energy facilities, under review.