Ørsted and Eversource pledged $5 million to Stony Brook University’s energy center to advance offshore wind in New York. The offshore wind developers want to focus additional research on how to connect wind turbines to the grid.
Ørsted spokesperson Jen Garvey said their hope is through new research projects the wind energy industry can work out some challenges with the construction and operation of offshore wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean.
She said the goal is to coordinate development alongside other ocean users, like commercial fishing. Long Island fishermen are concerned offshore wind will force them out of prime fishing grounds.
“Working with Stony Brook is an important part of the research we will be doing generally to make sure that we are understanding any potential impact associated with our installations and the fisheries,” she said. “So, that’s moving ahead either way.”
The state university’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center will also help recommend how New York and the developers could address the technological challenges, like grid integration and battery storage of wind energy.
Richard Reeder, the vice president for research and the operations manager at the Research Foundation at Stony Brook University, said the funding will also help with job creation for graduate and postdoc students.
“For the university, this is a great opportunity for us to kind of expand some of the research strengths we currently have in energy-related areas and to apply them to a new area, one that is going to benefit the local community and the state as a whole,” Reeder said.
The research also aligns with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Five offshore wind farms are in development off of Long Island, including the Sunrise Wind project from Ørsted/Eversource. The funding could help increase the number of projects.
“I think it’s going to be transformational for Long Island and the state,” Reeder said. “And it’s an opportunity for New York state to get out font and demonstrate what’s possible — both on the East Coast and the West Coast.”
Researchers plan to review proposals for projects within the next couple of weeks. Funding will start to flow this summer.