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Quantifying Emission Benefits of Offshore Wind Energy in Chesapeake Bay

Principal Investigator(s): 


The state of Maryland is rich source of wind energy. Research studies show that offshore wind resources in the Chesapeake Bay are large enough to supply the state with 67% of its electric needs, even if using only existing offshore wind power technology. As the state is moving forward to invest in offshore energy infrastructure, a comprehensive evaluation of the environmental impact of wind energy projects becomes important and urgently needed tool for providing critical information for decision making on site, scale, and design. After all, wind power transforms the landscape, and the manufacturing, construction, maintenance of wind turbines produce air pollutants, e.g. CO2. 

This proposed research project aims to quantify the emissions from offshore wind energy projects based on a life-cycle standpoint. Existing knowledge shows that emissions from wind turbines are very site-specific and sensitive to wind velocity condition, because of the cubic relationship of wind velocity to power output. We propose a hybrid life cycle approach to estimate the emission benefits from offshore wind energy. The approach involves a comparison between power grid emissions after wind farm project with baseline emissions from power grid. Lifecycle emissions from wind energy projects, covering embodied emissions and operational emissions, will be also evaluated based on the emission accounting protocol developed by the PI.