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Power Earth United States Technology

US To Fire Up Big Offshore Wind Energy Projects 223

coondoggie writes "The US government today took a bold step toward perhaps finally getting some offshore wind energy development going with $50 million in investment money and the promise of renewed effort to develop the energy source. The plan focuses on overcoming three key challenges (PDF) that have made offshore wind energy practically non-existent in the US: the relatively high cost of offshore wind energy; technical challenges surrounding installation, operations, and grid interconnection; and the lack of site data and experience with project permitting processes."
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US To Fire Up Big Offshore Wind Energy Projects

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  • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @09:25PM (#35132906)

    In a few short years (if not already) there won't be enough petroleum to go around regardless of how much drilling (off shore or onshore) you want to do. It's time to be preparing for that day.

  • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @09:26PM (#35132922)

    (looks both ways, feeds troll)

    Screw drilling. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but big oil is not so concerned about proceedure as they are about profit, which is exactly why Shell had deep water horizon explode like that. Moreover, it was not a singular incident. The federal investigation found systemic wrongdoing [] in many offshore drilling projects.

    What I want to see, is land-based wind generation in areas suited to it. My home state could power at least 3 others if this were to come to fruition.

    It is absolutely disgusting that people can build a new skyscraper in New York without any 'Environmental impact studies" on migratory birds, but somehow it becomes so very relevent as soon as we are talking about non-poluting power generation structures.

  • Massachusetts? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmccay ( 70985 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @09:27PM (#35132926) Journal

    Since Ted Kennedy is gone, may they'll put it up there.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @09:40PM (#35133020)

    They flip out when someone says, "Hey, let's just build a little Hiroshima or Nagasaki right across from your backyard!"

    The Kennedy Clan gets their drawer in an uproar, when anyone suggests that they build windmills anywhere near their property on Cape Cpd.

    So, sadly, switching to alternative energy sources is not a technological problem, but a political one.

  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @10:07PM (#35133264)
    Coal and natural gas may last a few hundred years. Wind will be available forever. We will have to switch away from fossil fuels at some point, no matter what objection to alternative energy you can produce. You can't change physics.
  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @10:28PM (#35133416)

    But it seems both the summary and TFA overlooked the FOURTH big Key Challenge to getting off shore wind projects started, namely Ted Kennedy, (rip).

    A steadfast opponent of anything in his back yard, he pretty well held the entire off shore industry in check for 30 years.

  • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @11:08PM (#35133720) Journal

    The article claims 3 challenges. I claim the article is worthless without addressing the 4th!

    the relatively high cost of offshore wind energy; technical challenges surrounding installation, operations, and grid interconnection; and the lack of site data and experience with project permitting processes."

    They missed NIMBYism!!! Amateurs.

    UNLESS, they included it in "...project permitting processes."

    Maybe now that the Kennedy's have more or less completely kicked off at this point, Obama can finally tap the North Eastern ocean?

  • Re:Massachusetts? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @11:40PM (#35133902) Journal
    Kennedy and Cronkite weren't the the first and second. They were different manifestations of the real challenger, Nimby. Nimby is always there. Nimby doesn't want nuclear, coal, oil, gas, hydro, solar, or wind power. Nimby doesn't go away until things get so bad that all his neighbors tell him to stfu because they're sick of freezing to death.
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday February 07, 2011 @11:42PM (#35133920)
    Bring it to the rustbelt, we have some of the best spots for wind generation in the country, some of the dirtiest power production, and not so many up tight people worried about their view being ruined. Oh, and can float the parts out of the factory if you set it up in one of the hundreds of abandoned factories on the waterfronts thus reducing shipping costs to near free.
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:20AM (#35134144) Journal
    People are going to bring up the inevitable comparison with Nuclear. So before they do Nuclear already has a healthy share of the DOE's development budget and it's only a good idea if you think a single energy solution will work. It won't. Wind is more scalable than Nuclear because 1 Gw of wind power can be brought on incrementally, 1Gw of nuclear power has to wait a minimum of ten years before the plant is complete. For the same reason a 1Gw reactor that is shut down produces 0Gw, A 1Gw wind farm with a wind generator shutdown produces almost full capacity minus the non-functioning generators.

    Nuclear occupies the mining space as well as the reactor space in land so they are probably about even there.

    The technology employed in a Nuclear reactor will be almost a decade out of date on day one of production presuming the very latest technology was implemented in the design. With a wind farm new technology can be implemented as old wind generators come off-line. This means the gap between technology updates for wind power are available much closer in time when compared to production, this means the rate of technology development in wind power is faster than nuclear.

    Wind power has a much lower energy cost to tear down because it can be demolished like a normal building, Nuclear power plant have very special and costly concerns when you have to tear them down and time will eventually take its toll on the reactor building.

    Before some one talks about "Only Nuclear can do base load", base load is a function of the entire grid not any one energy source.

    American are extremely blessed with wind power and indeed other sources. The potential exists to solve most, if not all of America's energy requirements. Every technology professional stands to benefit from the flow on effects of all alternate energy solution AND still use nuclear as a longer term solution as the technology is developed in that area. It's difficult to believe that there is only enough imagination for a Nuclear solution when, clearly, Solar and wind are very appealing technologically.

  • by Byrel ( 1991884 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:37AM (#35134232)

    Wind is less than 1% as efficient as coal.

    How can you define efficiency for both wind and coal? Typically the efficiency of a coal power plant is measured as the amount of recovered energy over the amount of released energy (from combustion). How do you define what energy is available for wind power?

    Even more importantly, we don't much care how much power is harvested from the wind; what we care about is total output over installation costs, or over maintenance costs. While the wind may not, strictly speaking, be an unlimited resource, it can be easily externalized by wind companies, without too many complaints from neighbors who don't have the breezes they used to.

  • by drsquare ( 530038 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @03:32AM (#35135008)

    Why is private profit more important than clean air and energy security? Switching to another fossil fuel is just bailing out the Titanic, you're still going down sooner or later.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.