Texas offshore wind power and water desalination potential

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Beceiro, Jose Daniel

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Texas leads the nation in oil and gas production as well as renewable energy production. Texas also leads the nation in installed wind power and is the 6th largest wind market in the world. Over the past decade, Texas has gone from nearly zero megawatts of installed wind to now over 14,000 megawatts. Texas has an immense onshore wind resource that has been exploited. However, another of Texas' large untapped energy resources has yet to be explored -- offshore wind. Texas is also experiencing one of the most severe and longest sustained drought cycles in the state's history. Texas is blessed with a vast supply of ocean water and brackish groundwater trapped in aquifers, but energy-intensive water desalination plants are required to purify the water to potable standards. Offshore wind has the ability to turn large-scale water desalination into an economical solution. This thesis focuses on offshore wind and water desalination technology development, cost competitiveness with competing renewable energy and thermo electric generation resources on the ERCOT nodal grid, and the opportunity to couple water desalination facilities with offshore wind farms to enhance overall project economics, reduce the cost of electricity, and increase the supply of fresh water. An economic model evaluating offshore wind-powered water desalination is utilized to demonstrate the viability of implementing these technologies across the state.



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