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Power United States

Virginia Approves First Offshore Wind-Energy Turbine For US Waters 83

New submitter mike2400 writes "According to the Virginian Pilot, the U.S. is closer to having offshore wind turbines. Gamesa, a Spanish manufacturer, has partnered with Newport News Energy, a subsidiary of Newport News Ship Building and Huntington Ingles Industries, to build the first offshore wind turbine in the U.S. It will be located in the Chesapeake Bay off the shore of Cape Charles, VA, which is located on Virginia's Eastern Shore. The prototype 5 MW unit (the article said 5 kW — that's a typo) should be up and running by next year."
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Virginia Approves First Offshore Wind-Energy Turbine For US Waters

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  • Not so fast (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @10:44PM (#39504471)

    Its now a race to see who can get the first turbine up and spinning before anyone can claim to be first.

    After years of opposition by Ted Kennedy, the Cape Cod wind farm was granted approval and all the law suits have pretty much played out.
    The Cape Wind Farm gained final construction approval [] about this time last year (April 2011). Held up by yet another appeal due VFR (small plane) flights [] flying below regulation minimum altitude, it is expected to pass this hurdle as well, just like every other wind farm has. The opposition group has recently been fined for election violations [].

    But Approval does not mean construction has started, and both of these projects seem to be at the same point in their development.

  • Re:Too expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @10:57PM (#39504567)

    If a $2.1 million bond is required in case they need to remove the structure. The article says nothing about how much it will cost and if this investment will pay off in the long run. I doubt it especially since the turbine only has an expected life of 20 years.

    In my understanding, it will cost nothing the taxpayer. TFA quotes:

    Gamesa Energy USA, which is partnering with Huntingon Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, to develop and test new offshore wind technologies that will reduce the cost of wind power

    The purpose of the project is to advance the demonstration of Gamesa Energy USA, LLC's new offshore WTG technology, the G11X, specifically designed for deployment in offshore wind environments worldwide.

    Not only that it will cost nothing the taxpayer, but Gamesa pays an one-time royalty for the piece of ocean's bottom it uses and set aside the bond for removing the installation if/when decommissioned. Even more:

    Although the project is just one single wind turbine generator and is not principally intended as major energy supply source, an added benefit of the prototype will be the production of up to five megawatts of clean, renewable wind power to the local Virginia transmission grid for public use.

    In other words, making Virginia (and it's governor) look better, while being paid for it.

    Can we stop whining now?

  • Re:Do I understand ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:47AM (#39505197)
    Yes, there are two reasons. First, the US doesn't subsidize wind like the European countries do. Second, the US has vastly more land-based wind power. That's still filling up.

    There may also be serious regulatory obstacles as well. For example, the entire California coastline is a national monument. That's 1350 km roughly of 20,000 km of US coastline (including some of the largest population centers in the US). Similarly, Hawaii has 1200 km of coastline which is public property. There are smaller areas with similar laws such as the Outer Banks of North Carolina (a 110 km part is a national seashore).

    A lot of coast just isn't near populated areas too. Alaska has almost 11,000 km of coastline, only a little of which is near any area with even modest population.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2012 @02:36AM (#39505651)

    That was a problem with older designed. Modern designs use a regenerative braking technique which allows the turbine to not only generate more power throughout its operating range, it also allows the turbine to function in much higher wind environments. Older design's vulnerability was an over-rev, therefore requiring them to shutdown to prevent this during high winds. Modern designs simply use more "braking", which in turn generates more power. Thusly, the limiting factor becomes structural rather than rev.

    Just because people with older designed had problems doesn't mean people using moderns designs, specifically designed to work around such limitations, will encounter the same issue. Of course, I have no idea if they are employing modern turbine techniques or not. Just the same, technically, it need not be an issue.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde