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Government Approves First US Offshore Wind Farm

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the blow-baby-blow dept.

Earth 432

RobotRunAmok writes "In a groundbreaking decision that some say will usher in a new era of clean energy, US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said today he was approving the nation's first offshore wind farm, the controversial Cape Wind project off of Cape Cod. The project has undergone years of environmental review and political maneuvering, including opposition from the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, whose home overlooks Nantucket Sound, and from Wampanoag Indian tribes who complained that the 130 turbines, which would stand more than 400 feet above the ocean surface, would disturb spiritual sun greetings and possibly ancestral artifacts and burial grounds on the seabed. But George Bachrach, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, hailed the decision, saying it was 'a critical step toward ending our reliance on foreign oil and achieving energy independence.'"

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Drill, baby, drill! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023622)

It's working great in the Gulf of Mexico!

Re:Drill, baby, drill! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023674)

Thats what the pack of niggers were telling each other when you fucking your mom last night. Your dad was in the corner wanking his two incher while licking their asses

Hear hear! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023650)

That's two major developments that probably would not have happened if Ted Kennedy hadn't died. I wonder if Harry Reid will express thanks for Teddy's death the way he did when the health care bill was in the works.

Flashback! (2, Informative)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023652)

'a critical step toward ending our reliance on foreign oil and achieving energy independence.'" I thought that was why the Department of Energy was created.

Re:Flashback! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023730)

How many worthwhile places have you gone in a single step?

Re:Flashback! (3, Insightful)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024234)

How many worthwhile places have you gone in a single step?

AFK

Re:Flashback! (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023942)

Well Nimby is hard to defeat.

Objections for marine deployment of this type of farm are mostly navigational (ships mostly skirt this area beyond nantucket Island but smaller craft and fishing vessels could see collisions), radar interference, and a whole bunch of people that want to push even visual impacts onto someone else. (Bird strikes are for the most part gross exaggerations, long since debunked.)

Driving in the west, I find the wind farms something majestic. I suppose I would not want one directly over my house, which is why the off shore solution is perfect for the eastern seaboard. These things are quiet, and have a proven track record of reliability. Standing up to the salt air may be an issue.

The Indian tribes build casinos on their own ancestral sacred grounds but somehow object to wind farms out on the water. This was never a sea-going tribe. But a few perks from Uncle Ted and sure enough a spirit dreamed up just last night will be annoyed.

Its odd that Kennedy's objections were enough to hold this project off under republican administrations, but as soon as he is dead, even the Democrats decide its good to go.

Re:Flashback! (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024102)

From what I understand, the objection of the Indian tribes was that it might disturb ancient burial grounds that are on land that used to be above water but now isn't. I find it hard to believe they've kept track of where any of those burial grounds are since they've presumably been underwater for many decades, but I suppose we could find them by burying dead pets in the ocean floor and seeing which ones come back to life, then simply avoiding those areas.

Re:Flashback! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024330)

since they've presumably been underwater for many decades

decades?? you sir have a warped view of history, and it's not nearly expansive enough

Re:Flashback! (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024594)

From what I understand, the objection of the Indian tribes was that it might disturb ancient burial grounds that are on land that used to be above water but now isn't. I find it hard to believe they've kept track of where any of those burial grounds are since they've presumably been underwater for many decades, but I suppose we could find them by burying dead pets in the ocean floor and seeing which ones come back to life, then simply avoiding those areas.

CENTURIES... not decades. Which makes it even more interesting.

Re:Flashback! (5, Interesting)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024442)

Standing up to the salt air may be an issue.

The Dutch [home.wxs.nl] have had them for a couple of years [nytimes.com] , so there's at least some precedent and any issues they encounter are likely to give a 4 - 5 year heads up to this initiative.

Re:Flashback! (2, Insightful)

ElBorba (221626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023992)

I love the suggestion that these turbines somehow reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We don't use any foreign oil whatsoever to generate electricity. Sorry Mr. Salazar.

Re:Flashback! (4, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024218)

We don't use any foreign oil whatsoever to generate electricity.

You got proof of that?

We use oil to generate 3% of our electricity. It's bigger than all "alternative" sources (like wind farms) combined. If we use less oil for electricity, we will need less oil overall, which will reduce demand for foreign and domestic oil alike.

If we have more electricity, we may use more electricity for home heating or cars, so this works on both supply and demand.

So unless you've got a credible citation for your claim, I'm going to say fie.

Re:Flashback! (2, Insightful)

jketch (1485815) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024282)

We can't wean ourselves off oil until we increase our grid capacity to the point that we can shift all of our oil users (mostly motor vehicles) to grid power.

About damn time. (2, Funny)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023662)

As a resident of SE Mass, I'm thrilled. Just think: Massachusetts has enough windy coastline to power most of the state with turbine farms. All we need to do is go through this process another 30-40 times! We should be done by the year 2500 or so!

Re:About damn time. (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023712)

And when the wind stops, make sure you have candles handy...

Re:About damn time. (1)

lupine (100665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023810)

Or you use the power saved in your pumped storage system. [masstech.org]

Re:About damn time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024516)

Maximum elevation on Cape Cod is 300 feet.

A MUCH better policy would have been to replace Canal Electric with a nuclear planet.

Re:About damn time. (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024070)

When the wind stops, just connect a whole lot of fans to Flander's house.

Re:About damn time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024440)

And when the wind stops, make sure you have candles handy...

It's eastern Massachusetts. The wind basically never stops and in Boston alone it averages > 20km/h. These are offshore and should be slightly stronger.

Re:About damn time. (5, Informative)

careysub (976506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024590)

And when the wind stops, make sure you have candles handy...

This may just be a wry comment, and not an attempt at serious criticism, but this point is often brought up to criticize both solar and wind power. And certainly it sounds like a serious problem since, after all, existing power systems are on-line all the time, and having a major aspect of the power system dependent on something as fickle as weather introduces serious unresolved problems into power grid management.

Doesn't it??

No, it doesn't.

The reality is that even "base load" (constant output) plants get shut down for extended periods for maintenance of various kinds, not infrequently unpredictably due to equipment problems. And, due to large fluctuations in power demand across the daily cycle (which can be unpredictable due to weather) there must be special expensive peaking power plants anyway.

It turns out that managing a diverse national power grid has a substantial component of solar and wind power is exactly like managing one that doesn't. A lot of solar and wind power necessarily means many plants spread over a vast geographical area, and while the wind may die (or the sky may cloud over) down in one place, it will be blowing hard (or shining brightly) in others. The power fluctuations are no worse than fluctuation in demand, and both are addressed in the same way - by having peaking capacity in with costly peaking plants, or some energy storage method, and by having redundancy in base load plant capacity.

Re:About damn time. (4, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023952)

Yes, but what happens when all the politician's move away because these wind turbines are an eyesore? Is it easy to relocate the turbines to wherever the politicians relocate to?

Re:About damn time. (1)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024370)

what happens when all the politician's move away because these wind turbines are an eyesore?

Have you every seen a wind farm? They're not particularly ugly, they look like fans far away at the horizon. The only issue is that they're noisy, so habitations need to be at least half a mile away. (Initially there was additional concern that the turbines would kill birds, but that turns out not to be true -- birds are smart enough to avoid a large, noisy obstacle.)

Re:About damn time. (5, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024632)

I actually think they are rather beautiful. Certainly not a "natural" beauty, but there is something majestic about them as a feat of engineering. Now the noise is what would bother me, but I think they are planned to be sufficiently far away were that wouldn't be a problem.

Senator Kennedy Is Spinning In His Grave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023664)

Hook up a generator. More clean energy.

that's great but... (1, Interesting)

powerspike (729889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023698)

While I'm all for renewable energy, We can't live off it in it's present form, you can't ensure a minimum output like coal/nuclear power plants so it would lead to brown/blackouts in the long run if it was taken up more. What we really need is a renewable energy that can provide a base load, then we start shutting down all the coal/nuclear power plants that create so much pollution.

So while this is good news, we really need to start working more on forms of renewable power creation where we can get a minimum load of them on demand or renewable energy will stay on the fringes.

Re:that's great but... (5, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023780)

Nuclear doesn't produce that much waste. Especially if we could reprocess the fuel. In the end you get a few tons of waste that's hot for a couple hundred years, but that can be dealt with better than the tons of crap coal spews out a day. It's just that we've had 30+ years of people scaremongering about Nuclear energy.

Re:that's great but... (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024302)

If you're talking about powering the whole country, it's hundreds of tons every year. And a few hundred years is a long time. The US is only few hundred years old. Maybe we could put it on a rocket and shoot it into space? Everything up there is constantly bathed in cosmic radiation anyway.

Re:that's great but... (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024420)

The waste is denser than lead, keep in mind. It sounds like a lot, but in volume it really isn't.

The newest thinking for the waste is really simple and, frankly, surprising it wasn't considered before: Use deep drilling technology to drill a half dozen miles deep, drop it down there, and plug the hole behind it. Problem solved.

Even weirder idea!!! (5, Interesting)

clonan (64380) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024484)

Use nuclear waste as ... wait for it ...

radiation shielding.

One of the issues with nuclear energy is absorbing the high energy neutrons to generate heat. We can line the reactors with nuclear waste and the neutron bombardment would transmutate it from 100s of years to safe in decades.

Re:that's great but... (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024520)

It seems like there is a potential for unforeseen consequences, though I can't think of how it could possibly go wrong. I work in environmental cleanup, so I mostly deal with unforeseen consequences.

One thing's for sure, if you change your mind about burying it that deep for some reason, you probably won't be able to dig it back up.

Besides, rockets are cool, and if it explodes in the atmosphere, you immediately know there's a problem. If you bury it, you have to wait thousands of years before you realize something's gone wrong.

That said, your idea is definitely a much safer means of disposal.

Re:that's great but... (2, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024544)

Hundreds of tons a year... Cry me a river.

As we speak hundreds of millions of tons of radioactive nuclear waste are getting blown out the top of chimney stacks of coal plants every year.

Re:that's great but... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023862)

Breeder reactors or thorium reactors for all!

Re:that's great but... (1)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023934)

Thorium Reactors ARE breeder reactors.

Re:that's great but... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023988)

Breeder reactors are U-238 or Thorium

Re:that's great but... (2, Informative)

sulimma (796805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023928)

That argument does not hold. Every power plant has downtimes for scheduled maintainance or because of accidents. You need backup power plants anyway for that. The fact that the downtimes happen more often for wind power than for nuclear power does not make it a lot more expensive or complicated to provide the backup power.

For some of these scenarious (emergency shutdown of a power plant) you need special power plants (gas turbines usually) that can quickly produce additional power. Both coal and nuclear are completely unsuited to fulfil that task.

As far as the environment is concerned it does not really matter what type of plant you use for backup power as they run a relatively small portion of time.
The vast majory of energy can be produce by a mix of unreliable sources without brownouts as long as the resulting variance the you get after mixing can be covered by some quickly reacting reliable source with relatively low capacity.

Re:that's great but... (0)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023986)

That argument does not hold. Every power plant has downtimes for scheduled maintainance or because of accidents. You need backup power plants anyway for that. The fact that the downtimes happen more often for wind power than for nuclear power does not make it a lot more expensive or complicated to provide the backup power.

The fact that the downtimes for wind are less predictable, less controllable, more frequent, and tend to happen all at once over a wide area, however, DO make it a lot more expensive and complicated to do so.

Re:that's great but... (2, Informative)

sulimma (796805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024274)

Did you even bother to read my post?

Anything that can cover the emergency shutdown of a nuclear power plant (e.g. provide a Gigawatt electrical power within minutes without advance notice) can cope with the variations in wind power output.

These solutions exist and are part of the grid. It does not really matter how often you have to turn them on once you built them.

A few years ago the summer in europe was so hot, that they almost had to shut down all nuclear power plants along the river rhine at once because there wasn't enough water for cooling. Again: Situations like these are less frequent with nuclear or coal compared to wind, but that does not make it any easier to provide technology to deal with them.

It's just the same as with UPS for servers: Mine has not been needed since I purchased it. In a devlopment country I might have need for it once a week. Still the one I installed in my home is not less expensive or simpler.

Re:that's great but... (4, Interesting)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024300)

I used to live right next door to Tehachapi pass, home of the largest windfarm in the west. The wind was never anything but reliable. You don't invest millions of dollars in windmills unless you put them some place where the wind blows more often than not. You could count on both hands the number of days throughout the year where the wind wasn't blowing. Sure you might not know what the exact speed of the wind was going to be at a given time, but that didn't really ever make much of a difference since they just simply added more wind mills to get the peak output they were wanting.

I've been living and working on Air Force bases for the last 15 years. People in the industry know how to find and take advantage of wind conditions as they are absolutley critical to airfield operations both in runway placement as well as ambient wind speeds that assist in the takeoff and landing of aircraft. This has been going on for nearly a century, so I think it is safe to say that the guys spending the big bucks on windfarms know what they are doing.

The down time excuse are pretty weak at best, and are usually held up by the NIMBY crowd.

nuclear waste not that much (5, Informative)

thule (9041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023946)

Nuclear power does not create all the much waste. Unlike coal, we know where the waste goes.

Nuclear Waste: Amounts and On-Site Storage [nei.org]

"Over the past four decades, the entire industry has produced about 62,500 metric tons of used nuclear fuel. If used fuel assemblies were stacked end-to-end and side-by-side, this would cover a football field about seven yards deep. "

Re:nuclear waste not that much (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024620)

"Over the past four decades, the entire industry has produced about 62,500 metric tons of used nuclear fuel. If used fuel assemblies were stacked end-to-end and side-by-side, this would cover a football field about seven yards deep. "

Bad quote. If you stored fuel rods that closely together they'd explode. There's feedback with nuclear fuel that causes it to super heat, it's where all the power comes from. Ignoring which side of the argument you are on can we at least agree to come up with one, just one storage facility before we build more reactors??? Honestly in all these years there's still not a single long term storage facility and here we are talking about building more plants. Can we at least address the problem before we add to it?

FYI for all the detractors on off shore wind being a real solution. The wind off the coast is steady and strong, it's what sail boats have run on for thousands of years. There actually is plenty of off shore wind power to supply the coastal power needs if we can just stop the rich people with beach property whining about windmills tens of miles out to sea. We can at least shut down most of the coal plants if we take advantage of the coastal wind power. There's plenty of it and it'll be there for millions of years to come long after all the fossil fuels and nuclear fuels are exhausted. Yes nuclear will one day run out. It's not magic people the laws of physics still apply. Gravity essentially creates wind power and that's not going away anytime soon unless something happens to the Sun and Moon then I think we'll have bigger issues if that happened.

Re:that's great but... (3, Informative)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023990)

A study showed that in the Netherlands, one third of the electricity [olino.org] could be reliably generated from wind. There is a link to the Ph.D. thesis at the bottom of the article.

The Netherlands has a long coast line, which makes it a very good location for wind energy. I don't know if the US has enough good locations to place wind farms to produce one third of electricity, but if it does not, then the problem with fluctuations in how much power is supplied to the grid will only be easier to manage.

In other words, you indeed cannot get 100% of your electricity from wind, but this is no reason not to build lots of wind farms today since you're nowhere near the limit yet.

Re:that's great but... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024170)

The US has a very long coastline and also a giant section in the middle of the country that gets a lot of wind and is relatively sparsely populated. We have plenty of good locations to put turbines, we just lack the political will to get it done.

Re:that's great but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024038)

Someone played too much SimCity 2000.

That is solved by storing energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024044)

Getting up to 10-15% of the total power supply from wind power works fine by using the rest of the grid as a load balancer. Above that special energy storage facilities is required. There are several ways to do this efficiently. One of them is pumping air into huge underground caves building up preassure during excess power generation, and when power is needed, running the turbines backwards. You could also do the same by pumping water up in dams.

Hydrogen Electroloysis? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024118)

If you use the power to electrolyze water, store it under pressure, then burn it in a combined cycle plant you can get about 50% of your energy back. Is there any reason not to do that?

Re:Hydrogen Electroloysis? (1)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024564)

Because it will cost more than other options.

I don't think that the turbines are a bad idea. I'm just not convinced that they are the right solution currently. Longer term, they will probably make sense, and so it is a good idea to do the proposed project. We'll learn a lot and stay in the game. But, economically, it doesn't make a lot of sense to transition a significant percentage of our economy to it.

Re:Hydrogen Electroloysis? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024616)

Because burning hydrogen won't spin a wind turbine.

But you could burn it to heat the boiler used in a solar thermal power plant that would have higher capacity and more reliability than wind power to start with, plus a much easier way of storing energy, either directly as heat or as you mentioned as electrolyzed hydrogen.

Re:that's great but... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024122)

If we are at a tipping point where any day now the sea may rise 200 feet, hadn't we better start actually doing something? While I am sure this project will make people feel better about themselves and that some small step has been taken, it doesn't really change anything.

No less coal will be burned to generate electricity.

So how about if we shut down all the coal plants RIGHT NOW and figure out what to replace them with in the next 10 years or so? If the problem is really as bad as some claim it to be, action is needed today not plans to put up some windmills so everyone can see the one "green power" billboard lit up and then go back home to their coal-generated electricity and turn on the TV.

There are really only two alternatives here. Either this is a massive campaign to show the Greenies are "right" somehow and there is no crisis or there is a crisis and the required actions are simply not being taken because of a lack of courage.

So come on, step up and do something. Or step up and admit there isn't any real crisis after all. One or the other. If there is really a crisis then I think people can get behind it but we need to shut off the carbon emissions today, not in 50 years.

Re:that's great but... (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024570)

>>nuclear power plants that create so much pollution.

Nuclear power plants don't produce any pollution. At all - unless you're talking about the exhaust of the employees driving to the plant or something. Nuclear waste isn't pollution (it doesn't get into the environment), and is really just another form of fuel.

I'm not sure why so many people believe in such counter-factual things. When listening to Pacifica Communist Radio a year or two ago, I was listening to a reporter for the Worker's News Network (or whatever it's called) unironically talking about a group of global warming protesters chaining themselves to a gate of a nuclear power plant, trying to shut it down. Said this with a straight face, with absolutely no clue that what she was talking about made no sense whatsoever.

>>So while this is good news, we really need to start working more on forms of renewable power creation where we can get a minimum load of them on demand or renewable energy will stay on the fringes.

You don't understand how it works then. You just need power "backstops" that can quickly come online to provide power when it gets cloudy or the wind dies or something. These are usually natural gas plants, but they don't have to be. And if they're only running a small fraction of the time, the CO2 they produce is acceptably low.

Really, there's only two obstacles in switching to green energy:
1) Cost. Unsubsidized costs of most sources of green power is many times more expensive than coal. Only nuclear is cost competitive. (Best cost estimate I've found - http://www.energy.ca.gov/2007publications/CEC-200-2007-011/CEC-200-2007-011-SD.PDF [ca.gov] )

2) Greens. Ironic, is it not? As the article mentions, the primary opposition to this green power plant came from Greens themselves. And this happens everywhere, with greens blowing up dams, shutting down solar plants, and otherwise trying to block any progress being made whatsoever. The Green movement is like an alcoholic, schizophrenic stepfather.

(Well, and 3) the Native American groups, which seems kind of dubious to me - they have offshore burial grounds? Really? In a very specific spot? I suppose it's vaguely possible, but it seems like they're more looking for a payoff to go away.)

Re:that's great but... (1)

BKX (5066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024592)

No, no no. Wind is constant at the altitudes these turbines are at. Seriously. Test it for yourself one day, and climb a one hundred foot pole when there's no wind at ground level. I assure you that not only will there be wind at the top of that pole, but that it'll be more than enough to turn a turbine (you only need like 6-12 mph).

Re:that's great but... (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024626)

We can't live off it in it's present form, you can't ensure a minimum output like coal/nuclear power plants

Exactly, I mean, it's not like it could power a global transportation system. Oh wait.... d'oh! [wikipedia.org] .

There's a shitload (SI units only, please) of energy bombarding (and emanating) from the Earth. If we're not capturing it, it's either because the other forms are easier to capture, or we're not being creative enough. Capture from a diverse enough pool, combine it with clever storage systems [sandia.gov] , and there's your base load.

They only valid complaint about this wind farm was (2, Insightful)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023702)

The Wampanoag Indian tribes, I totally respect their position about the burial ground.

Ted Kennedy was just a hypocrite. He was all for green energy EXCEPT when it was in his back yard.

It’s about time this was passed. Now maybe they can put these wind farms on the Great Lakes also.

Re:They only valid complaint about this wind farm (4, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023902)

If Christians had said that it messed up sunrise services for Easter would you have been respecting their position too?

Mass transit authorities put trains under cemeteries all the time, why should these guys be any different?

Oh and they have really good leadership too
http://boston.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/campaignviolations021109.htm [fbi.gov]

"In February 2009 Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe chairman Glenn A. Marshall pleaded guilty to federal charges of violations of campaign finance law, tax fraud, wire fraud, and Social Security fraud – all in connection with the effort to secure federal recognition for the tribe."

Re:They only valid complaint about this wind farm (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024078)

I actually thought that was the least reasonable argument. Saying "somebody was buried there once" is not a good argument for, well, much of anything. Spiritual beliefs aside, the one thing we're sure about today is that you aren't using your body any more when you're dead. That pretty much precludes your having any rights regarding it. How many people have been buried at sea? How dare you lay an undersea cable, or eat a fish? The whole thing is ridiculous. Everyone else has to buy land if they want their corpse to stay there, why should they be any different? I think it's been conclusively shown that being somewhere first is not enough, unfortunate or no.

Re:They only valid complaint about this wind farm (3, Interesting)

youngone (975102) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024298)

Why would you totally respect their position? They don't know if there are burial grounds there. From the Article: "would disturb spiritual sun greetings and possibly ancestral artifacts and burial grounds on the seabed. The ocean floor was once exposed land before the sea level rose thousands of years ago." So, thousands of years ago, some people may or may not have lived on some land that is now under sea. We'll probably never know, and the Wampanoag people don't either. Now everyone come back at me with claims about how accurate non-literate cultures' tribal histories are. Anyway, what the fuck is a "spiritual sun greeting", and why is this any less dumb than ancient carpenter worship?

Yea! (3, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023708)

All the other objections were just bullcrap political cover for the real reason the project never got off the ground until now; Senator Kennedy didn't want to see the turbines in HIS view. Now that he has went to Hell progress will be rapid.

Re:Yea! (2, Funny)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024136)

Senator Kennedy didn't want to see the turbines in HIS view. Now that he has went to Hell progress will be rapid.

Not for everyone: By the same token geothermal energy is doomed...

Re:Yea! (2)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024474)

Senator Kennedy didn't want to see the turbines in HIS view.

For those of us who are not intimate with American politics -- why is this moderated insightful, flamebait and troll? And which Kennedy would that be?

Re:Yea! (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024614)

Ted Kennedy [wikipedia.org] .

Take a look at this [americaswatchtower.com] for background.

GroundBreaking? Should be SeaBreaking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023738)

or Windbreaking :-)

Figures (3, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023794)

Bean town gets the first windmill farm.

How it should have been advertised (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023832)

Government approves offshore wind farm, with the caveat that they are responsible for the cleanup of wind spills.

Moron Greens (-1, Flamebait)

StealthyRoid (1019620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023840)

But George Bachrach, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, hailed the decision, saying it was 'a critical step toward ending our reliance on foreign oil and achieving energy independence.'

Setting aside the fallacy that we can ever be "Energy dependent" or stop consuming "foreign oil" if we want to remain a first world country, unless those windmills are going to be attached to cars, it's not going to have any impact at all on oil consumption. Only about 2.5% of US electricity generation is via oil, and almost none of that is from MA. If you want to argue that having taxpayer subsidize inefficient electricity production is a good thing, fine, we can have that argument, but don't pretend it has anything to do with decreasing consumption of oil.

Stupid hippie.

Re:Moron Greens (2, Interesting)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023932)

Stupid hippie.

I was sortof following your argument until there...

On the long run, any coal you don't dig up and burn for energy is an ace up your sleeve on the international energy market: "Sure, we are interested in your coal, but better make a new offer else we'll have a closer look at our cubic kilometers of coal still buried under waiting-to-be-blown up mountains. And it would be a shame if something happened to the coal price, right?"

Re:Moron Greens (4, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023956)

Electricity can be used to power electric cars.

To support a large number of electric cars you need a decent generating capacity and a good network.

If people have electric cars they don't need cars that run on petrol.

Petrol comes from oil.

More electric cars means less oil needed since there are fewer petrol cars.

Less oil needed means less dependence on foreign oil.

Stupid narrow-minded thinker!

Re:Moron Greens (0)

StealthyRoid (1019620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024224)

Faulty assumptions in your chain of reasoning that render it null:
  1. You assume that the only thing holding back the widespread adoption of electric cars is a lack of grid capacity, and not the high price and low performance of those vehicles. There's no evidence to support this, anywhere.
  2. Even if that were true, there's no reason to believe that the addition of a couple of inefficient wind farms to one state's grid would even match the power needs of the suddenly omnipresent electric cars.
  3. Even if we needed less oil, that wouldn't necessarily translate into less foreign oil. If foreign nations sell cheaper than domestic producers, we'll just buy less domestic oil.
  4. Not living in Magical Unicorn Fairy Princess Reality Mirrors My Contrived Example Land does not make one narrow minded.

Re:Moron Greens (2, Insightful)

bartwol (117819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024480)

You don't really refute the GP's argument. Instead, you switch to an electric-car-as-savior argument. But wind turbines do nothing to address the deficiencies of electric cars (it's not like they're being held back by a shortage of electricity).

Electric cars would be great, if they didn't suck at doing important things that petrol-powered cars do. So until some dream of yours which you can't really articulate comes true, your electric-car-as-savior theory remains no more than an optimist's dream.

And, so, your cute exercise in word logic doesn't [in reality, today] solve our problem, and certainly has nothing to do with wind power.

(And, no, throwing money at a problem is not a sure way to solve it.)

Re:Moron Greens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024510)

Take a look around you. I will wait. How many thing around you are polyester? Plastic? Acrylic? Glue? Pharmaceuticals? We live in a plasticy oily world. Gas is but 1 thing you get out of a barrel of oil.

Lets say tomorrow we didnt need gas for cars. What do you think they would do with it? As they are still going to distill it for all the other oil things we use (as we still need those things). BTW they would burn it. It would also push up the price of all those other things as they would not be getting it for 'free' to get gas. Our need for oil would be less. But not as dramatically as you think.

http://www.txoga.org/articles/308/1/WHAT-A-BARREL-OF-CRUDE-OIL-MAKES [txoga.org]

Re:Moron Greens (2, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024060)

You're right, if you take a short-sighted view.

But energy is fungible, and it gets more and more fungible as technology advances and energy gets more expensive.

Every bit of coal we save now is a bit of synthetic gasoline we can make 300 years in the future.

Re:Moron Greens (1)

StealthyRoid (1019620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024292)

Energy is not fungible. I can't turn a KFC Double Down into electricity to power my car (at least, not in any way that doesn't involve treadmills, copper wire, magnets, and a shitload of inefficiency), but I can turn it into power for my body. Plus, in 300 years, you think we'll be running anything off synthetic gas? That's a pretty low estimation of mankind's ability to innovate.

Re:Moron Greens (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024296)

Haha.

We don't have 300 years before we need it.

At current usage growth rates, using current estimates of known and undiscovered reserves, all of the oil will be gone in 30 - 60 years.

300 years from now generating energy from petroleum will be as antique an idea as killing whales to light our houses.

Re:Moron Greens (2, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024182)

"Why won't electric cars significantly reduce our carbon output?" -- "Because they're still recharged by coal power plants."

"Why won't replacing coal power plants significantly reduce our carbon output?" -- "Because cars are still powered by oil."

Focus on any one solution and of course you'll find that it's not the entirety of the problem. That's why you don't focus on only one solution.

Re:Moron Greens (1)

StealthyRoid (1019620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024270)

There's no relationship between electric cars and windmills. The production of one does not spur the production of the other. Wind power is a (inefficient) way to produce the thing that makes the electric cars go, yes, but you still have to solve the problem (if you think of it that way, I don't) of increasing electric car adoption. Furthermore, the my argument wasn't against the claim that windmills produce less CO2, it was against the claim that windmills have a tradeoff with oil. They don't.

Re:Moron Greens (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024360)

Except electric cars, even if 100% powered by electricity from gasoline plants, would still be a massive improvement. Internal combustion engines have a maximum theoretical efficiency of 30%, but large stationary plants can afford to be much more efficient. Collecting the energy from a gasoline plant, piping it through wires to a person's home, putting it into a battery, taking it out of the battery, and operating an electric motor adds up (or, rather, multiplies down) to a total efficiency of... 48%. That's right, 60% more bang for your buck, even if nothing else changes.

Good move... (5, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023842)

I know people in the area. They told me the biggest objections came from people living in NYC and Conn. who had summer and weekend homes in the area. The thing is some 15 miles off of the coast. The people most bothered will be on their yachts miles out to sea.

Basically we have some choices;
1) Invest in newer, cleaner forms of energy
or
2) continue to destroy the environment, kill oil rig workers and coal miners, and rely on oppressive regimes in oil producing nations, e.g., Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela.

AFAIAC, this is a sudden outbreak of common sense.

Re:Good move... (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024022)

One simple fact that a lot of people miss. Industrial and contstruction accidents kill people. Has been a fact of life since the pyramids.

You die just as dead falling off a 400 foot tower as you do from a burning oil rig. In both cases it is highly likely the body is never recovered. You die just as badly buried in the earth in some mine as you do when there is a mishap involving a wind turbine or the power grid it is connected to.

This isn't going to save any lives. They might die differently, but these things are going to require maintenance and they aren't going to shut them down for simple maintenance. So you have humans working in proximity with spinning blades. A moment of distraction and you are dead. Just like in a coal mine or on an oil rig.

Re:Good move... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024152)

Just because it is still possible to die doesn't mean the probabilities are the same. I'm willing to heavily bet that a wind farm is significantly safer for many, many reasons.

Re:Good move... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024256)

i'm not sure you under stand the size of these wind mills..

a person can fit inside the gearbox normally.. they aren't going to be siting on top of the thing..

there is a risk of falling yes - 400 feet max into water.. (a lot safer than 400 feet to ground)

there is also the risk of rotating equipment.. same as ANY industrial plant that does anything really.

the people that would maintain these are normally trained very well in the hazards of their jobs.. i would expect the danger to be no greater than for the people who work at existing land based ones but rather lower as water does give way - and honestly no more dangerous than working in a large manufacturing plant.

Re:Good move... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024394)

400 feet max into water.. (a lot safer than 400 feet to ground)

I doubt that but I am sure they can be maintained safely.

Re:Good move... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024262)

but these things are going to require maintenance and they aren't going to shut them down for simple maintenance..

I live near a wind farm (northwest Indiana) and they do stop the blades when performing maintenance. When you have hundreds of the things it's not going kill your output to stop one for a few hours to keep from killing someone.

Re:Good move... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024340)

windmills don't blow up, vaporizing a dozen men and dozens more to flee into the water

and they don't require permanent operating staff in situ, just occasional maintenance

there is zero chance you'll be able to come up with a convincing case for one oil rig being less dangerous to workers than any practical size of wind farm

Re:Good move... (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024388)

If you return home alive though, sea air is a lot healthier than dust accumulating in your lungs.

Re:Good move... (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024452)

LOL, it's the "all software has bugs, therefore all software is equally buggy" fallacy recycled for safety evaluation.

All jobs involve risk, therefore all jobs are equally risky! Every form of power generation involves the possibility that someone will die, ergo changing forms of power generation will not change the number of people who die.

Yeah.

By the way, unlike monolithic power generation, individual turbines in a wind farm can be shut down without significantly reducing the overall output. Shutting them down for maintenance is exactly what they're going to do.

Re:Good move... (5, Interesting)

Allnighte (1794642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024254)

I know people in the area. They told me the biggest objections came from people living in NYC and Conn. who had summer and weekend homes in the area. The thing is some 15 miles off of the coast. The people most bothered will be on their yachts miles out to sea.

Can you really blame them? Take a look at the estimated visual impact of the wind farm:
http://www.capewind.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=9&page=1 [capewind.org]

I don't know about you but I'd obviously rather stab my eyes out and burn down my vacation home than see those ugly filthy things on the horizon. /sarcasm

Re:Good move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024574)

Mod this up. Everyone making comments needs to see what this looks like.

Re:Good move... (1)

astar (203020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024320)

so there are usually a few interesting questions that somehow never come up

where will the turbines be manufactured? I doubt we have the capability anymore, so i would guess china

are we dealing with generation or batteries? the usual thing for alt energy is it takes more energy to create the installation then it will ever produce. (nukes produce twice as much energy as they take to build.)

suppose you were serious about wind power. I hear a long time ago that the energy content of the wind, world-wide, is about world energy demand, which would be interesting. I recently tried to research this and came up with a paper based on a climate model that did not look very physical to me. this was a try based on a drag coefficient prediction. somehow, I think a back of the envelope energy thing would give you a straightforward order of magnitude number that would be pretty convincing and actually meaniful. pooh, thinking about it, this is the sort of thing you could have a bright high school student do. a couple input numbers and a trivial equation. is it too trivial or too embarassing? If you push me, I suppose i would try to come up with the numbers, but it is not like I think this will ever be built.

Re:Good move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024352)

I know people in the area. They told me the biggest objections came from people living in NYC and Conn. who had summer and weekend homes in the area. The thing is some 15 miles off of the coast. The people most bothered will be on their yachts miles out to sea.

And these are the same people who supposedly support "green" living. Just not for them!
N.I.M.B.Y!!!! [youtube.com]

here here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023854)

Who gives a shit about your view? Certainly not all the people living next to coal fired powerplants, cooling towers, or for that matter solar or wind farms...

I might be the typical slashdotter that is progressive and welcomes change, but then again I'm not old money that has a profit margin to maintain - or a nostalgic "view" to protect.

Additionally, who gives a shit about the indians artifacts buried on the bottom of the sound? Is anybody *out there looking*?

The grass is always greener on the other side indeed.

Greed Jobs? (0, Flamebait)

ElBorba (221626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32023888)

Imagine all the money! Awesome that future technologies like wind energy only cost gobs more than all those technologies of the past. Even the article suggests that cost/kwh will go up for consumers. These are being built on subsidized contracts, of course, because the only thing that would make THIS project (not all wind projects) doable is massive cash injections from the feds. Still, with the low cost of "fossil" fuel and the billions of other products (you can't make plastics out of air power) that rely on oil, there is no way that wind and oil even exist in the same product category. Salazar's claim that this will contribute to "America's energy independence" is an empty claim since the energy that is generated by these windfarms will replace exactly zero percent of imported energy! Also, the article lauds this as a green jobs boon which, of course, has been repeatedly disproven a-la Spain's booming "Green/d" economy.

Wind can be cost effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024358)

If done right, I disagree. Wind turbines DO have a big up front cost, but the operating costs are quite low. If the wind turbine is well designed and manufactured, it can get a good lifespan. While, wind turbines are expected to have a ~20 year lifespan. Some older designs have been working since the 80s. I'll bet some of the designs will end up lasting 50+ years (Enercon). Granted, the comparatively cheap wind turbine blades have to be replaced every 15 years, but wind requires NO fuel.

With regard to power storage, MIT seems to be having luck with efforts to make giant, high temperature batteries.

Good start but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32023892)

I would be more excited if current technology produced wind turbines that lasted more than 25 years. This means that in 25 years there will either be a lot of useless junk in that harbor or the infastructure will be reused for the next generation of wind farm. To be honest, I would rather invest the $1bn in floating wind farms which, when decomissioned can just be brought back to shore, and even more importantly:

- generate more power since they can be deployed farther off the coast where wind speeds are higher

- more versatile for the same reason

- don't block the sunset as much for the same reason

Re:Good start but (2, Funny)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024068)

- don't block the sunset as much for the same reason

I was with you up until this point. This is Massachusetts, the east coast. As the Chili Peppers said, "The sun may rise in the east at least it settles in a final location."

Ted "The Whale" Kennedy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32024074)

Too bad that fat bastard isn't alive to see this.
I spit on his grave.

Oh, wonderful (0, Troll)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024190)

So now they're offshoring wind production, too? What, good ol'-fashioned landlocked American wind isn't good enough for your Cape Cod liberal sissies?

MIT has something to say (2, Informative)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024208)

It's kind of funny that this happened around the time when MIT researchers talk about the posible impact of massively deployed wind turbines [nextbigfuture.com]

Pardon the bad source, but I don't have time to really look into it.

wiff! (4, Interesting)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024214)

America's first? Really? Are we that far behind the times?

Sad.

Lake Michigan ones next? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32024398)

Lake Michigan ones next?

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