Offshore Wind Farms
If you compare Figure B (page i) of Reference 1 and the figure in
Reference 2 (Wind Energy Resource Potential and Wind Energy
Projects), you’ll note that the US east and west coasts and the Great
Lakes have high wind potential and are, for the most part, close to
The SF Gate reported in September 2010 that the UK opened the world’s largest
offshore wind farm, a 300 MW facility (Reference 3). The US currently has
one facility, Cape Wind, planned for 420 MW (Reference 4). Progress has
been stymied by well funded Cape Cod and Massachusetts opponents
Other than the Cape Wind project, offshore resources do not appear to
be aggressively considered. The UK and Denmark have led the use of
offshore wind farms (Reference 6). Some Great Lakes projects are in the
initial research stage.
- Shorter distance to population centers
- Lower transmission costs since there could be fewer property
boundaries to cross.
- Political resistance to siting wind towers on the coast could be
less if less desirable view locations are selected (in contrast to
- Require facilities that could sustain severe transient wave, wind
and storm forces and ongoing seawater and lake water corrosion. Wind
generator platform costs would likely be higher than land facilities.
- The Newsweek March 28-April 4, 2011 edition page 31 reported
in the article Is there any safe energy? that "a new study
suggests that the beaked whales - the size of a rhino and the weight of
a bus - are confused by the presence of wind farms at sea, leading them
to beach. Not mentioned is the possibility that the low frequency noise
level generated by the wind turbines might be detected by the whales.
A detailed comparison of all the costs associated with land-based and
offshore projects would need to be done to get a more accurate picture.
- Executive Summary of the North American Electric Reliability
Corporation (NERC) special report, Accommodating High Levels of
Variable Generation, April 2009. http://www.nerc.com/files/IVGTF_Report_041609.pdf
- Department of Energy Wind Energy Resource Potential and Wind
Energy Projects http://www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/wind_potential.html
- SF Gate, World’s Largest Wind Farm Opens Off UK Coast http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/09/23/financial/f094239D89.DTL
- Cape Wind http://www.capewind.org/index.php
- Google search, Cape Wind Opposition, http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=cape+wind+opposition
- Wikipedia, List of Offshore Wind Farms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_offshore_wind_farms
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- Tuesday March 29, 2011