fish and energy production management objectives while creating few spatial conflicts with other uses. It may also be economically beneficial to these companies as they might all benefit from access to similar resources for staging and maintenance of their structures.
Interconnection to the Electrical Grid
Even after a minimally conflicted site is found, there is still the issue of how to extract the electricity and distribute it to customers. Electricity is often generated at power plants or generators that may not be located near the demand for it, which necessitates long-distance transmission. To arrive at a true estimate of the costs of integrating an MHK installation into the electrical grid of a local utility or regional transmission operator, a number of factors would need to be considered, including the size of the generator (e.g., the size of a tidal turbine array), the strength or weakness of the overall electric system, reliability requirements for the generator and the electricity system, proximity of the generator to the potential interconnection, and configuration of the existing system. The local utility or regional transmission operator will conduct interconnection studies as required to determine the costs to interconnect with its existing electrical grid. These costs will include costs for interconnection and the costs for any required upgrades to the existing electrical grid to handle the additional generation from the MHK project. The process and costs for interconnection will vary depending on whether the device connects directly to either the transmission or distribution system (Figure 7-1).
The electric power system is planned, constructed, and operated to provide safe, highly reliable, and stable service to all customers, even during severe disturbances. The reliability rules for a system consist of requirements for resource adequacy, including generation reserve margins; transmission capability, including stability analysis; and emergency operations (NYSRC, 2011). Bringing MHK energy onto the grid, then, is complicated by many factors. Harsh environmental conditions, unstable load flows, variable energy output, lack of electrical demand near the generation, the length of cable from a device or array to a shore terminus, potential environmental impacts from the cable, permitting issues, and the need for specialized equipment for reactive power control are all challenging. However, the penetration of gigawatt-scale wind energy into the U.S. and European grid demonstrates that intermittent resources can be brought online and can provide a model for integrating MHK energy with traditional resources. It is unlikely that MHK resource variability would be a destabilizing element for a given electricity system or that it would require electricity storage technologies.
An offshore transmission system is needed to allow offshore generators,