Evaluating the Grid Impact of Oregon Offshore Wind

Josh Novacheck, Marty Schwarz

Research output: NRELPresentation


This analysis used high-resolution offshore wind data and a detailed production cost model (PCM) of the Western Interconnection to explore the value and operational impact of integrating offshore wind along Oregon's coastline. Leveraging local technical stakeholder expertise and input, we determined a set of scenarios to explore. These scenarios vary both offshore wind capacities and the Western Interconnection generation and transmission infrastructure. From the scenario modeling and analysis, we identified the following key findings. In addition, we simulated a subset of the scenarios for a range of historical weather years (2007-2013), to understand the robustness of our findings to different weather conditions. Trans-coastal transmission constraints and congestion are the key drivers to the curtailment of Oregon offshore wind. Once power can be delivered into the Willamette Valley, there are few system constraints that lead to a significant curtailment of offshore wind off the coast of Oregon. Approximately 2.6 GW of installed offshore wind capacity can be integrated into Oregon's power system without major upgrades to trans-coastal transmission while avoiding significant curtailment. The system value provided by offshore wind ranges between $65/MWh and $85/MWh across the various scenarios considered. Offshore wind heavily influences the flow of the cross Cascade transmission. Across all scenarios, we found a robust relationship of approximately 500-550 MW decrease in the hourly flow of the cross Cascade transmission for every 1,000 MW of hourly offshore wind generation. However, we also found there was not a strong relationship between the highest cross-Cascade transmission flow hours and high offshore wind generation, limiting the extent to which offshore wind can be considered a non-wires alternative to cross cascade transmission. Depending on the meteorological year, 880-1,580 MW and 1,650-3,100 MW can be counted on to serve coastal loads with 2.6 GW and 5 GW of offshore wind capacity, respectively. Offshore wind allows for more optimal daily and hourly scheduling of hydropower, while still complying with various technical and regulatory constraints on the water resource. Oregon offshore wind has the potential to contribute to the evening net load peak in California (i.e., mitigate duck curve challenges), however transmission congestion between California and Oregon limits this contribution. Co-located storage at the point of interconnection for offshore wind reduces curtailment when trans-coastal transmission is not upgraded, providing a non-wires alternative to increase offshore wind capacity beyond 2.6 GW.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A40-82032


  • offshore wind
  • Oregon
  • transmission


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