Offshore Wind Turbines

President Obama has put in effect a new plans to add offshore wind turbines on the coast of New Jersey and Virginia. After reading numerous articles and blogs on this website about how some politicians are trying to limit the number of wind turbines I fell that this move is excellent. It will not only generate a great deal of energy to the states it will create numerous jobs that can help boost the economy. [2] It is being noted that this is a huge step in the environmental aspect due to the effects on the environment are very little. The proposals from developers show for a total of 12,000 megawatts.  With turbines producing up to 2000 megawatts which could provide power for up to 500,000 houses.[1] The main problem with the wind turbines is that the utility cost will double by using the new proposal. Right now the largest states utility rate is 12 cents per kilowatt hour while the power from the wind turbines could cost 28 cents per kilowatt hour.[1]

So the question that generates is how much more energy can the turbines provide to counter balance the cost issue? Since it would be at least 4 years before the turbines would be fully functional what could be done to speed up the process and or help the carbon footprint?

In my opinion I would go ahead with the wind turbines. Even though it will be up to 4 years and double the utility rate, the power that is generated can not only help the states by providing more energy and jobs but it will help to create a better environment.  Also on previous articles I read how farmers were getting upset by the space a wind turbine took up, well by moving the turbines to the ocean it gets rid of that problem. So while the move might not be the most efficient move for the present, the move will create and provide for the future.

 

[1] http://news.yahoo.com/feds-mid-atlantic-wind-farms-step-forward-183937894.html

[2] http://news.yahoo.com/obama-opens-door-offshore-wind-power-along-mid-210000815.html

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Offshore Wind Turbines

  1. cgl332

    Although I agree with all of the advantages stated in the blog, there are however, several disadvantages to offshore wind turbines that I feel should be mentioned. Offshore wind turbines offer several advantages mainly because there are stronger winds in the ocean so that the renewable energy obtained is significant and can help society decrease its dependance on fossil fuels [1]. Building turbines in the middle of the ocean requires a lot of material and high construction costs. Although the costs for installing a ocean wind turbine may eventually be economical due to its return on investments, there are several non-economical factors that need to be considered.

    Depending on the location of an offshore wind turbine, it can impact marine life. The stem of the turbine may become an artificial type of reef. As a reef develops, more fish will populate the area around the turbine. The problem with having a lot of fish near these turbines, is that birds will also be attracted to the area- a danger because of the rotating turbines. It is a danger to the birds because the birds will need significantly more energy to avoid the wind created by the turbines and to avoid crashing into them. Also, these turbines can cause the birds to become disoriented and cause them to go off-course. Not only do ocean wind turbines offer disadvantages to birds, they also can interfere with animals and species in the water [2]. Currents running through the cables can again disorient and affect the marine life. These can affect the migration patterns of different species. Also, depending on how far away the turbines are from the shore, they can generate a lot noise [2].

    Finally, in Maryland, the discussion of offshore wind has been going on. However, one of the main problems that they are running into is that offshore wind turbines in this area could interfere with military operations and with NASA construction projects. Therefore, although they recognize many of the advantages of having wind energy, there are also many tradeoffs and compromises that still need to be discussed [3]. The wind turbines cannot be constructed in ship lanes or near where people depend on fishing for their livelihood.

    Therefore as the blog discusses, there are several important advantages to having wind turbines in the ocean. However, these advantages do not come without fallbacks and disadvantages. It is up to society and government alike to compromise between them and decide which disadvantages they are willing to accept and which ones they deem absolutely unnecessary.

    [1] http://www.renewables-info.com/drawbacks_and_benefits/offshore_wind_power_–_advantages_and_disadvantages.html

    [2] http://ocsenergy.anl.gov/guide/wind/

    [3]http://www.dailytech.com/Study+Finds+Advantages+Disadvantages+of+Offshore+Wind+in+Maryland/article19958.htm

    • spencerdrake03

      Thank you for commenting on the effect of marine life it was something I had wondered as well. I had not thought or heard about the NASA or military impact this brings up interesting questions. Do the builders take this in affect and or talk to the military before building? Thanks for the added information

  2. I think offshore wind power is one of the best energy in the world. As mentioned in the above article, it not only creates the employment opportunities but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although the cost of offshore wind turbines is 20% to 30% more than land wind turbines, but the abundant wind energy on the ocean will balance the extra cost. Moreover, the improvement of technology in this area reduces the cost and makes offshore wind turbines more practical. In September 2006, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a new technology to place wind turbines far offshore. [1]
    Traditional offshore turbines are placed on the top of tower. The tower can be fixed only by drilling to the bottom of the sea. So this limits the depth where offshore turbines can be placed. The traditional offshore turbines can be placed on the ocean floor in about 50 feet of water. The new system uses cables to tether large turbines to floating platforms. The cables connect the platform to concrete pillar on the ocean floor. This floating platform will tilt to left and right but not up and down. Even if the hurricane comes, the movement of the platform is in the range of three to six feet. Compared to the cost of tower fixed offshore wind turbines, this new system saves two third of the cost. In addition, this kind of platform is easy and convenient to be moved to places needed.
    Therefore, offshore wind turbines will bring more energy to us with less environmental pollution.
    [1] http://news.cnet.com/MIT-designs-invisible,-floating-wind-turbines/2100-11395_3-6116933.html

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