Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has developed a technique to assess sea breezes which could be beneficial for offshore wind projects in terms of energy predictability.
The research team studied offshore and near-shore sea breezes that cross the New Jersey Wind Energy Area, a federally designated zone off Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties where an offshore wind project is planned to be built.
The study found that during the summer, sea breezes often arise on hot afternoons when energy demands peak, but conditions change when winds from the southwest push warm surface water away from shore, which causes upwelling of much colder bottom water causing offshore sea breezes to begin some five hours before normal and become more intense.
According to Rutgers, winds blowing over coastal lands keep near-shore sea breezes from moving inland, but the land-based winds have little effect on sea breezes offshore.
The behavior of offshore sea breezes, and how the ocean influences them, have largely been mysteries until now, said Lead Author Greg Seroka.
“We’ve developed a technique to characterize and predict sea breezes, which could be critically beneficial for offshore wind turbine construction planning, operations and maintenance – and help make wind a reliable substitute for fossil fuels,” said Seroka.
Based on the findings, the scientists expect that sea breezes offshore will be much more predictable for the offshore wind industry. The next steps include learning more about the types of sea breezes to improve the prediction.
Last year, New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy set out the goal of developing 3.5GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 by signing the A-3723 – the Renewable Energy bill. The first step was made in September when BPU unanimously approved an order opening an application window for 1.1GW of offshore wind, so far the nation’s largest single-state offshore wind solicitation.