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First US Offshore Wind Power Park In Delaware 363

Posted by kdawson
from the doesn't-get-much-greener dept.
Dekortage writes "Offshore wind power company Bluewater Wind has announced an agreement to build America's first offshore wind turbine park off the coast of Delaware. 'Each turbine [will sit on] a pole about 250 feet above the waterline... the units are to be constructed to withstand hurricane-force winds. From the shore, the park will be visible only on clear winter days, and the turbines will be nearly invisible during summer months when Rehoboth Beach fills with vacationers. Each blade on the three-blade rotor is to be 150 feet long.' The wind farm will power 50,000 homes in Delaware, using about half of its capacity."
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First US Offshore Wind Power Park In Delaware

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:57PM (#23922373)

    The wind farm will power 50,000 homes in Delaware

    Lies. There are no homes in Delaware. Ask yourself, do you know anyone from Delaware?

    I thought not.

    Delaware is a plot between the banking industry and the DuPonts to get a few free Senators. Don't believe the lies.

    • by clonan (64380) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:59PM (#23922403)

      According to TFA there are also tourists.

      But that only begs the question...who would go to Delaware for a vacation?

      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:14PM (#23922709) Journal
        Dogfish Head beer is made in Rehobeth DE.

        That alone makes Delaware worth a vist, if only to check out the brewery and then drink oneself into oblivion... to avoid having to face the reality that you did, indeed, got to Delaware for a vacation.
        • by orielbean (936271)
          90 Minute IPA for the win!!!
          • by Vancorps (746090)

            120 Minutes IPA for the double win!

            It's not so easy to get out here in AZ, pretty much gotta go to Papago where they also serve a beer appropriately called hops shortage which is the most hoppy IPA I've ever had!

            nom nom nom nom

        • by Temtongkek (975742) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:12PM (#23923673)

          You all suck. I'm from Delaware and I'm the coolest guy you know.

          I:

          -have Real Genius AND Aliens memorized word for word
          -speak 23 languages, 3 of which are actually used on this planet
          -actually have a job
          -changed my underwear recently
          -am voting for the Cylons this upcoming election
          and
          -fought Chuck Norris ....and am alive to type about it.

          Beat that.

      • by sm62704 (957197)

        But that only begs the question...who would go to Delaware for a vacation?

        I was stationed at Dover AFB from 1971-1973. If it's anything like it was then, I'd say absolutely NOBODY. Never before or since I was there have I ever been so bored, and I owned a motorcycle and a new 1869 Mustang.

        The only good thing about that state was the fact that you only had to drive twenty minutes in any direction and you were in a different state.

        The summary mentions Rehobeth, I went there. It's not in Delaware, Rehobeth is

      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        But that only begs the question...who would go to Delaware for a vacation?
        People interested in screen doors? [wikipedia.org]
      • by moosesocks (264553) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:06PM (#23923595) Homepage

        But that only begs the question...who would go to Delaware for a vacation?

        If you're from New Jersey, just about anyplace else seems like paradise.....
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Red Flayer (890720)

          If you're from New Jersey, just about anyplace else seems like paradise.....

          Have you met people from NJ?

          If you're from North Jersey|Down the Shore|The Pine Barrens you won't think anyplace else is paradise... you'll think it's a different planet.

          New Jersey is, in fact, a gateway to a different planet. This is why we get the weirdos. Show me a photo of a bunch of teenage NJ guidos, look me in the eye, and tell me with a straight face that they are not aliens. It can't be done.

          Don't you think there's a

      • Re:Don't forget... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Squalish (542159) <Squalish AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:49PM (#23924197) Journal

        Re: The DelMarVa coast - It's warm enough, breezy enough, and wet enough to approximate a beach in summer. With cheap oil, it's a cheap automotive vacation. It attracts everyone east of Appalachia, south of Pennsylvania, and north of Richmond. Somehow it never became an icon - but it is the most popular vacation destination for several million people.

        The only inhabitants that aren't supported by the corporate technicalities or the vacation industry are farmers.

    • And I agree with everything you said.

      • by AndersOSU (873247) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:40PM (#23924041)

        Sorry for the hijack, but I'm going to attempt to insert some of the backstory here. See, I've lived in Delaware for the last 4 years (I'll gladly accept your pity)

        Getting this deal done was a seemingly never ending political nightmare. Delmarva, the recently deregulated power company has fought against it tooth and nail. They seemed to have been under the impression that signing a 25 year power deal at a fixed price was a bad idea because you know, the price of oil might go down in the future...

        Our governor was initially pushing a "clean coal" plant and against this deal. Blue Water Wind finally got the deal done due, in a large part, to netroots action pressuring the state legislature to force a deal down Delmarva's throat if they didn't start to negotiate in good faith. Delaware doesn't have ANY power generation, and buys all of it's power from other states. Delmarva wanted to continue to do this in spite of the rediculous congestion on our power infrastructure.

        Tommywonk [blogspot.com] has been doing a fantastic job covering this issue, and if anyone wants anymore information I'd suggest they head there. (Surprisingly he doesn't have an update about the deal being inked yet)

        Anyway, a warning to green power advocates, if this case is any indication, expect the entrenched interests to fight you every step of the way.

    • Next section: Actuaries and their tattoos.
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:14PM (#23922725) Homepage
      It's actually funny, because, well I'm Canadian, and having never to bothered looking for Delaware on a map, I was somewhat sure that it was an inland state. It made the headline quite confusing. I could probably locate the general area of most US states on a map, but Delaware is one (until now) state that I would have had no idea where it was located.
      • by eln (21727) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:43PM (#23924105) Homepage

        Haha, that just goes to show that Americans get an unfairly bad rap for being bad at geography. It turns out you Canadians know far less about American geography than we know about everyone else's geography!

        Man, what a bunch of losers. I'm so going to mock you losers when I travel up to the oceanfront property I just bought in Alberta. I'm pretty sure my property is close to your national capital in Toronto too, so maybe I'll just have to go complain to your President about all the jokes. You'll be sorry you ever made fun of us!

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Delaware blows.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ericspinder (146776)

      Ask yourself, do you know anyone from Delaware?

      "Delaware, what state is that in?" is an actual question I've heard when mentioning it.

      Delaware is a plot between the banking industry and the DuPonts to get a few free Senators.

      Well, it must have been a very early plot as it was the first state to sign the Constitution, and DuPont must have managed it from France, anticipating starting a gunpowder company a dozen years later.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:20PM (#23924609)

        It's worse than that.

        I had a bartender in Olean, New York confiscate my driver's license because, and I quote, "This is a fake, there is no such state as Delaware".

        I went over the bar to get it back, the cops got called, it was getting pretty ugly until the cop got there (the cop told the bartender he was a retard).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mapsjanhere (1130359)
          Well, try being from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
          About one in ten US companies tries to connect you to their international shipping department when you call in an order...
    • I'm from Delaware! (Score:3, Informative)

      by Prien715 (251944)

      I grew up there (and now live in Houston -- from a job I got on Slashdot no less).

      Rehobeth is a beautiful area -- Delaware's #1 industry is tourism believe-it-or-not -- and it's just plain smart of them not to have them visible. Since the state is geologically a sand bar, the beaches are extremely nice and it's not a huge tourist hotspot like Florida or Jersey. They've got a decent sized park nearby (Cape Henlopen) where you can walk from forest to beach and take a dip if you want without all those pesky

    • by TimToady (52230) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @04:58PM (#23925167)

      Everyone knows the main purpose of Delaware is actually to mark the credit card junk mail you can throw out without looking at it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by khardiss (1271428)
      Fact is, anything outside of Texas is a liberal lie. We know the world really consists of just Texas and water.
  • Ocean view (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oxy the moron (770724) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:00PM (#23922435)

    My family usually makes a trip every year to Bethany Beach, which is just a bit south of Rehoboth Beach. While I understand that it's better for most tourists if the turbines are not visible, it'd be cool if we could make it into a real-life science "field trip" for the kids sometime in the future.

    Are there any plans for something like a small boat trip to see them up close? Maybe they could build a museum?

    • Re:Ocean view (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stormguard2099 (1177733) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:50PM (#23923295)

      If you ever have the chance, go to Tarifa, Spain. It's one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

      The beaches are nice and wide with fine sand. It makes for a perfect place to ride wind powered boards and of course kite surfing in the ocean.

      All of this wind also makes for the perfect location for windfarms. The area around Tarifa is spotted with the turbines. Honestly that was my favorite view was to stand on the beach and watch all of turbines happily spinning up on the mountains producing nice clean energy.

      If I had faster internet I'd find you some links for pics.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:00PM (#23922439) Journal
    All the states around the great lakes could use these as well. What surprises me, is that if you have the pole there, then why not add in tidal or even wave power as well? I believe that the expensive part about all this, is getting anchored securely to the floor.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by peragrin (659227)

      That's not a bad idea. though it might be too far from shore to benefit much from tidal, it s worth a look.

      Increasing energy density is always good. At least until it goes boom.

    • chicago has some days with a lot of wind but we get most of our power form Nuclear power.

    • by MortenLJ (686173) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:09PM (#23922619)
      Admitted, I don't know much about alternative energy, but I do know that wave- and tidal-power is still on the experimental state. I think the primary problem with wave energy is the tremendous strain which is placed on the structure over extended periods of time. Meanwhile Vestas [wikipedia.org], the turbine supplier for this project, has been producing wind turbines which has been used in practice since '79. I.e. wind energy is tried and tested technology which supplies my country (Denmark) with 19% of the total power consumed [wikipedia.org].
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      As far as the great lakes thing. Well maybe but I have no idea how fast the great lakes get deep. Deep water really runs up the cost.
      Now the tide thing? probably not. Tidal systems are only practical in limited areas.
      What I want to know is why is it almost invisable during the summer but not the winter? That seems very odd to me.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I believe that the expensive part about all this, is getting anchored securely to the floor.
      Doesn't the wind shift directions every dawn/dusk?
      Can you even run a wind turbine in 'reverse'?

      I can't imagine that they're going to build wind turbines that can rotate into the wind.
      A vertical axis wind turbine wouldn't have that problem.

    • There are more wind farms cropping up in central new york (find Syracuse onna map). You can see a few off to the east when flying into Hancock Intl, Syracuse's airport.
  • Ah, good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Paranatural (661514) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:02PM (#23922483)

    I was afraid that the US would be losing out on the fundamentals of actually deploying such alternative energy setups. While I don't suspect wind power will be the answer to anything much more than maybe 5% of the world's power needs, we WILL need the engineering and technical know-how. Either we can get in on this stuff early and have our people (And by our people I am well aware some may be from other countries, bust most will stay in the US) gain the expertise and be home-grown, and thus, ultimately contribute to our society, culture or economy, or we would have to rely on experts from other countries almost exclusively, and end up being at the mercy of foreign nationals.

    This would be an ideal opportunity to track the total cost of installation and management vs. the total cost for an equivalent 'traditional' power plant.

  • Feasible? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spleen_blender (949762) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:03PM (#23922497)
    I wonder if it would be feasible to use the base upon which the turbines sit to put in place tidal generators as well.
  • by mcamino (970752) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:05PM (#23922553)
    What state is Delaware in? Isn't it just a county South of Philadelphia? The wind power will be used to keep the chickens cool in the summer, and warm in the winter, because everybody knows, nobody lives in delaware except the Banks,Duponts, and Chicken Farms (Tyson, Purdue, etc)
    • by k_187 (61692) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:17PM (#23922777) Journal

      The wind power will be used to keep the chickens cool in the summer
      WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY! Sorry, couldn't help myself.
    • by sm62704 (957197)

      The state is called Delmarva [wikipedia.org]. However, IIMN Delmarva kicked Delaware out because he snored too loud, and both Mary and Virginia are lesbians.

      Uncyclopedia doesn't mention Delmarva, but it does have an entry on Delaware [uncyclopedia.org].

      Today I saw a squirrel. For all I know, it might have been the only squirrel in Delaware. Wow! I bet it lives in a tree somewhere. I bet trees here look completely different from trees anywhere else. On the state border, I saw a sign that said
      WELCOME TO DELAWARE
      POPULATION: 1 SQUIRREL
      ALSO: 1 TR

  • This is insane. 1,600,000,000/50,000 is $32,000 per home. Even over 25 years that's $1280/home/year (and this doesn't include maintenance costs). If this is going to be a real solution costs have to come down enormously.

    • by mshannon78660 (1030880) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:16PM (#23922747)
      $1280/home/year is only about $107/home/month - that's close to what my electric bill is now (although I live in Texas, not Delaware). Doesn't really sound like they have a long way to go, cost-wise.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Vellmont (569020)


        that's close to what my electric bill is now

        Why does everyone seem to think I was saying this would be the electric costs/month?

        This isn't the cost to produce electricity, nor the cost it will sell at. It's JUST the cost to produce the plant divided over 25 years. Maintenance, transmission, and any overhead aren't included.

        The cost of the actual electricity is a totally different number. The point here is that the construction costs alone are VERY high.

    • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:16PM (#23922757)

      You have an excellent point...

      However, electricity has tripled in the last 20 years from 5.3 to 16~ish cents. Assuming in the next 20 years, it does the same... then 1,280 would be roughly $430 adjusted for inflation- which will be a huge bargain.

    • by ivan256 (17499)

      $1.6 billion is the cost to build it. There will need to be a fleet of service vessels and several full-time employees (I would guess around 50) to service and provide administrative functions for the project. Salaries, benefits, fuel (think diesel for service ships), and parts should easily add tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars per year in operating costs.

    • by b0bby (201198)

      The 50,000 homes figure is for the less than 50% of capacity which Delmarva Power has contracted to buy. "The rest would be sold to other customers."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by burni (930725)
      You are caculating with a constant price for electric energy, but as the past years tought all of us, thus would be insane.

      So you should basicly add the inflationary process to your caculations,
      which is citing wikipedia[1] 3.9 %.

      On the other hand the price for primary energy sources like nuclear fuel, natural gas and
      most important coal, will unlikely decrease, they will rise, .

      And one word to the insane costs, when nuclear power plants are built the prices are nearly
      the same, nuclear powerplants (as far as
    • by Vancorps (746090)
      My electric bill is currently $300/month so $1280 sounds like a good deal to me!
  • Technical Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheSync (5291) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:12PM (#23922693) Journal

    Technical data here [udel.edu]...

    Bluewater Wind agrees to build a 150 turbine, 450MW wind project 12-13 miles off of Rehoboth Beach. Delmarva Power agrees to buy up to 300MW at any one time. The cost to Delmarva ratepayers for energy and capacity will be 10.56 cents/kWh in 2007 dollars. Delmarva is also purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) associated with its energy purchases.

    So evidently these are 150 x 3MW turbines. Generally turbines of this class have a blade space diameter of 100m.

    It is interesting to note that while Delaware has no nuclear reactors, it is across the river from the Salem [nrc.gov] dual 1.1 MWe PWRs and the co-located Hope Creek [nrc.gov] 1.0 MWe BWR in New Jersey, for a total of 3.2 MWe of nuclear in the neighborhood.

    • by TheSync (5291) *

      er from the Salem [nrc.gov] dual 1.1 MWe PWRs and the co-located Hope Creek [nrc.gov] 1.0 MWe BWR in New Jersey, for a total of 3.2 MWe of nuclear in the neighborhood.

      Correction: 3.2 GWe, not MWe.

  • by jtroutman (121577) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:16PM (#23922753)

    I'd actually like the reminder that we are doing something like this. I can already see coal-fired power plants from the freeway, why is it a positive thing that something like this, which doesn't belch black smoke, can only been seen? You don't want the tourists to know that you're for a cleaner environment?

  • Beach????? (Score:2, Funny)

    by 12345Doug (706366)
    There's a beach at Dewey? I only thought there were bars there. Who knew.
  • by ivan256 (17499) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:21PM (#23922849)

    They're not answered anywhere on the company's website or in the article...

    The answers to these questions are important when determining whether this project is worthy of support or not:

    Who is paying to build the windfarm?
    Who gets to keep the profit from the windfarm?

    For the windfarm they wanted to build around here, the answers were "me" (through tax dollars), and "not me" (as in some private corporation got to keep the profit, even though they didn't pay for the initial investment). Luckily a sufficient number of people were able to see that they were getting screwed through the veil of "environmental responsibility" in order to get the project canceled.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by T3Tech (1306739)

      Who is paying to build the windfarm?
      Who gets to keep the profit from the windfarm?

      I'm not sure of the answer to these questions and I live close enough to the region to have heard the smear campaign Delmarva Power (the local power monopoly) was running against Bluewater on the radio. Their radio ad went into how it would cost customer's so much more money, yadda, yadda, FUD, blah, blah, FUD. From my limited knowledge on it, I believe Delmarva had a more lucrative deal in the works with some onshore wind farms and my guess is that Delmarva viewed Bluewater as being a real threat to their

    • by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:20PM (#23923773) Journal
      From what I understand [delmarva.com] Bluewater Wind is building the farm and selling the electricity to the local utility, Delmarva Power. Delmarva is independent of the state and is only entering the contract because the State of Delaware requires it to do so. It doesn't say anything about government funding.
  • wow, I'm surprised California hasn't jumped in to do it first. Suddenly I feel so....environmentally unsound.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Cali just does it quietly. Delaware is harping about how they've got 50000 people covered while California has quietly built farms which power 1.5 million. We've got plenty of mountain passes and the like that we really don't need wind farms on the ocean.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nsayer (86181)

      wow, I'm surprised California hasn't jumped in to do it first.
      We did [wikipedia.org].
  • 'Each turbine [will sit on] a pole about 250 feet above the waterline... the units are to be constructed to withstand hurricane-force winds. From the shore, the park will be visible only on clear winter days, and the turbines will be nearly invisible during summer months when Rehoboth Beach fills with vacationers.
    Don't they know that if a NIMBY can see an offending structure at any time with a household telescope, it's still too close?
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:28PM (#23922945) Homepage Journal

    I actually live in Delaware, and for those fools who aren't in the know, Delaware has some of the lowest property taxes in the area, good rail transit, and good gun laws.

    Now, the windmill battle in Delaware was an EPIC battle. On one side, you had the utility that wanted to build a gas turbine, and on the other side, you had the windmill people.

    The backdrop is that the utility already doubled rates because of rising fuel prices, and the state was already importing a great deal of energy at spot (read high) prices. To work around this, the state needed its own generation.

    Now, the utility wanted to build a new gas turbine facility, because the capital costs were pretty cheap and they had enterprise experience with both operating and constructing them. The windmill people wanted a windmill farm, and, they probably would have lost on merits of costs, because the windmills are nearly twice as expensive as a cheap gas turbine station. However, I think what's happened is that, between everyone being so spooked by the perpetually rising fuel costs, and, a newly enacted state sustainability law, they more or less had to build the wind mill.

    It will be cool if it works, but I'm cynically betting on rolling blackouts on calm, hot summer days.

    • by mugnyte (203225) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:10PM (#23923641) Journal


        i'll take your bet.

      Electricity is a grid of multiple sources, kept in tight balance at several geographic levels. The output of all of them fluctuate constantly, as does use.

      When there's not enough wind, it'll come from somewhere else. The concept is to build a diverse portfolio of sources so that we're not as affected by situations in any one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by skiingyac (262641)

      Europe gets like 20% of its power from wind, and doesn't have these kind of issues.

      The wind farm will be on the coast, and when the most energy is used (summer and winter), the ocean temp is conveniently the most different from the land. Plus it is windy 250' above the ocean several miles off the coast a lot more often than it is standing on land.

      How many times have you been to the ocean when there are no waves (which are caused by wind out at sea), or it isn't windy?

    • by moosesocks (264553) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:16PM (#23923729) Homepage

      That is sort of odd, considering that gas turbines and wind power fill two separate niches.

      Wind power provides good support to base-load power, while gas turbines can fill demands during "peak" periods.

      Also, there are fairly extensive atmospheric/climatic studies performed before sites are selected for wind farms. Given the height of the turbines, it's probably a pretty safe bet that there'll be some wind virtually all the time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nanoakron (234907)

      And the bonus is that in 10 years time, the wind turbines will have broken even and, barring maintenance costs, will be producing very cheap electricity.

      Whilst the gas turbine would be paying over the odds for Russian natural gas.

      Short termers and NIMBYs are ruining the environment. Wind turbines are a good investment.

  • Ah... home! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DelawareGT (905614)
    Not bad! At peak capacity, the off-shore wind farm can power 110,000 homes in the state (nearly a third of all homes) [1][2].

    Living in Delaware definitely has its perks. Blue crabs, the beaches, pumpkin' chunkin' festivals [wikipedia.org], scrapple [wikipedia.org] (mmm!). Also, fans of craft beer will note that Dogfish Head [dogfish.com] is brewed there too.

    [1] http://www.bluewaterwind.com/de_overview.htm [bluewaterwind.com]
    [2] http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/10000.html [census.gov]

  • by gelfling (6534) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:37PM (#23923089) Homepage Journal

    From "Small Wonder" to "Don't Blink". But for the hundreds of State Troopers on I-95 making up the State's entire budget, you could drive through Delaware in about 6 minutes.

  • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:04PM (#23923557) Homepage
    I've listened to a lot of conservative talk radio and the one apparent constant is the negative attitude toward wind power. I don't get it.

    USA needs to be going full bore with wind power. So what if it only contributes a fraction of the power we need. Any additional source of power is good and worth it if the energy return is positive. Off-shore wind power strikes me as a great alternative to the concerns regarding land-based wind power. Concerns such as overcoming NIMBY resistance, ugly-ling up the landscape, discouraging tourism, etc.

    So, what's the deal with the politiking? When you face a problem, you attack that problem on all flanks, which for this problem means investing in all forms of safe, eco-friendly energy. Sometimes that means legislating enticing incentives and direct funding by the government for solutions which cannot immediately generate profits, but would over time if initially invested.

    F the politics.

  • Delaware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by He-Ja (1187145) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:15PM (#23923705)

    Delaware, first to ratificate the constitution, first to have an US offshore wind power park.

    What a briljant state!

  • by lpangelrob (714473) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:43PM (#23924109)

    ...here [energy.gov]. For the main page, google "wind map [state]". The area where the turbines will be built ranks good-to-excellent.

    It's interesting to note that most of the wind maps agree that offshore is the best place to stick a wind turbine. If you've ever stood by the ocean, there's always a stiff sea breeze coming from the ocean onto the land.

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