Analyzing costs and benefits of rerouting vessel traffic to open areas for offshore wind development in the mid-Atlantic United States
University of Delaware
The recent emphasis on development of offshore wind energy projects has powered the movement to evaluate distribution of current ocean activities. As wind energy development becomes more prevalent, existing users of the oceans, such as commercial shippers, will be compelled to share their historically open-access waters with these projects. Here, we demonstrate the utility of using cost-benefit analysis (CBA) framework to reduce potential spatial conflicts and assess tradeoffs between offshore wind development and commercial shipping. Specifically, we evaluate whether rerouting commercial vessel traffic farther from shore to open areas for wind development would produce net societal benefits. We focus on less than 1,500 transits by deep-draft vessels between the ports in the US Mid-Atlantic. We propose to reroute these ships by an average of 18.5 km (10 nautical miles) per trip. We estimate that over 29 years of the study, the added private and external vessel costs amount to approximately $0.2 billion (in 2012$). The net benefits of the proposed policy are approximately $14 billion (in 2012$). Considering the large societal benefits, modifying areas where vessels transit needs to be included in the portfolio of policies used to support the launch and growth of the offshore wind industry in the US.
Wind energy , Cost-benefit analysis , Vessel rerouting , Maritime transportation