There are already some undersea transmission lines running off the Atlantic Coast, but this is the first line that will collect power from generators along the way. This presents a particular technological challenge. The AWC will carry direct current rather than alternating current like the onshore grid. DC is more efficient at moving power over long distances, but DC works best for point-to-point transmission rather than lines that have many inputs and outputs along the way.
To make the AWC work efficiently, the system will employ a series of substations along the way that section it off into a series of direct journeys rather than long line with lots of entry and exit points. Like offshore oil platforms, these intermittent platforms will absorb the power from future wind farms and introduce it to the grid via four connection point in Virginia, Delaware, and southern and northern New Jersey, saving wind developments the trouble and expense of having to build their own connections to shore. That in turn should lower the cost of entry for offshore wind projects, hopefully spurring development along the coast and making way for a future where alternative energies make up a bigger share of America’s energy portfolio.