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US To Fire Up Big Offshore Wind Energy Projects

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the any-way-the-wind-blows dept.

Power 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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223 comments

Sigh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35132878)

Waste of time and money. Can we get back to drilling offshore?

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35132930)

That is why I am carefully grooming my technocratic midget/mentally handicapped giant duo. I will run bartertown...

Re:Sigh (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35132946)

Who needs bartertown? My investments into personal knowledge and skill will render the utility of bartertown useless.

(besides, with the right deadly traps in place the deserted wastes look far safer to live in. Just ask the kid with the boomerang!) :)

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133356)

Eh who gives a fuck about drilling at this point? They're already bio-engineering bacteria to make petro now. Also its carbon neutral using CO2 from the air so no eco faggots can complain. They've gotten the success rate to like 10,000 barrels per acre so far or something.

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 [independent.co.uk] 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.

Re:Sigh (1)

quenda (644621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133550)

It is absolutely disgusting that people can build a new skyscraper in New York without any 'Environmental impact studies" on migratory birds,

If the building spin at 300mph, you will probably need a permit, even in NYC.

Re:Sigh (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133768)

When environmentalists stall or stop any new construction by abusing environmental law, don't be surprised when it bites you in the ass.

Just laws are applied to everyone. Not just people you don't like.

Re:Sigh (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133972)

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but big consumer is not concerned about procedure as they are about availability and price...

Even drug addicts have the good sense to NOT blame the dealer.

Have cake XOR Eat Cake.

Re:Sigh (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133240)

Waste of time and money. Can we get back to drilling offshore?

There are a number of abandoned platforms in the Gulf that could be used to site wind turbines instead of letting them go to waste.

Original headline 'Us Tries To Fire Up.. (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35132896)

The original headline is much better.

It reflects reality. Not cheer leading.

50 million isn't a big enough subsidy for anything 'big' that is this uneconomical.

Re:Original headline 'Us Tries To Fire Up.. (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

That ought to cover it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35132900)

$50 million dollars. Wow. That ought to about cover the cost of the paperwork to get started. Glad to see we're thinking big.

Re:That ought to cover it (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133008)

It should cover the costs of determining what impact it will have on the local wolf population. That's a common method used by the tree-huggers to slow down road work around here, where we have an active population of 0 wolves.

Re:That ought to cover it (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133156)

Tree-huggers? Any good bureaucracy will have that washed away before anything of any possible value could come of it and luckily for us the US government is just the right mix of greed, mismanagement and pork barrel projects. The end result of this $50 million dollar project will probably be a report on why $50 million dollars was not enough.

Re:That ought to cover it (2)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133296)

"It should cover the costs of determining what impact it will have on the local wolf population. That's a common method used by the tree-huggers to slow down road work around here, where we have an active population of 0 wolves."

Well, when the government is handing out almost $1 Billion US in subsides to the "Biofuel" industry to build wood-chip converting plants in, of all places, Texas, maybe it is a good idea to diversify. Oil too expensive? Fall back on nearly-free lumber resources, and burn it in our SUVs, all at great profit to those that do the refining. The lumber industry has long been feeding from the public trough, consuming vast tracts of forest that they pay pennies for, selling us back our own resources, and this is just an extension of that free-loading.

  Wind sounds far more attractive to me, not only as a consumer, but as a part OWNER of these forests. I'd rather see our subsides pay for something other then lining the pockets of biofuel-plant-building contractors that are building a pipe-dream designed to pillage our public lands (they make their money regardless of whether or not the technology is sustainable--that might just be the whole idea).

Re:That ought to cover it (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133396)

Probably should have included a citation...

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/government-backs-1-billion-plan-to-make-gas-from-wood-chips/ [nytimes.com]

The four plants the "loan" is for are to be located in Texas, Georgia and two in Mississippi. This sounds very sketchy to me...why not build the plants where there are actually trees? Sounds more like a contract scam--the plants are never meant to be profitable. More then likely the builders make their money (paid for with our taxes) from the construction, the plants fail to make money (for whatever reason), plant operators default on loan, story over, we're out a billion dollars.

You build a wind-generator, you get something for your money. You build a pipe-dream, you get smoke.

Re:That ought to cover it (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133576)

First generation wind generators couldn't cover their maintenance costs with their generation revenue.

Those people got something for their money. But at the end of the subsidy the generator was worth less then zero as it cost money to take it down. Still might have been a good deal if you got in early.

Those wood plants could run on brush. Is the one in Texas near Crawford?

Joking aside. We generate buttloads of wood 'scrap'. I know a guy who sells round tables (for 10K$US) sliced off the end of one of PG&E's 'scrap' black wallnut tree trunks.

I'm guessing this is a typical Utility type investment. Low but steady rate of return. Runs on scrap generated by utilities own line crews and local cities. We still get screwed but at least its slowly. Wouldn't be economical except for low interest paid due to government guarantee and current high cost of getting rid of wood scrap. Utility getting fucked by landfill operator, invisible hand not so invisible.

Re:That ought to cover it (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133608)

By first generation I mean the first generation of generators that were tied to the grid.

Obviously the earlier models produced electricity at a time and place where it's value was hard to measure, but was very high.

Only three problems? (3, Informative)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35132924)

What about local opposition? [wikipedia.org] The Martha's Vineyard wind farm faced a regular nor'easter of NIMBYism.

Re:Only three problems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133100)

The biggest obstacle to offshore wind energy in the US is the Not Within Sight Of My Beach (Using Binoculars) mentality.

Re:Only three problems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133174)

Ted Kennedy is dead. Don't need to worry about messing up his scenic view any more, Now if anyone complains, the Democrats will just have them arrested, like those who opposed Clintons city planning (putting prisons in middle American cities).

Re:Only three problems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35134096)

The Russians can make Floating Nuclear Plants [wikipedia.org]

Would those against offshore wind farms prefer one of these as an alternative?

Massachusetts? (3, Insightful)

jmccay (70985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35132926)

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

Re:Massachusetts? (4, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#35132964)

You beat me to it. I was going to say in response to: "The plan focuses on overcoming three key challenges (PDF) that have made offshore wind energy practically non-existent..."

Ted Kennedy and Walter Cronkite are both dead now. Who's the third challenger?

Re:Massachusetts? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133116)

Always two there are, no more, no less.

Re:Massachusetts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133682)

If only there was a way to harness that "force" and turn it into electricity . Perhaps Shinra Corporation can figure it out.

Re:Massachusetts? (3, Insightful)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133902)

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.

I thought (-1, Offtopic)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35132966)

I thought that forcing everyone to use CFLs would reduce our power needs by such a huge amount, that additional electric plants would be unnecessary.
Or was the only improvement moving the US light bulb plants and jobs to Chinese CFL plants? At least we won't be filling our landfill with those chemically disastrous light bulbs any more.

Re:I thought (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133006)

CFLs are an improvement over incandecent for a number of reasons, but believing that switching to them would in some fashion mean that we wont need new power plants is retarded in and of itself.

People keep having sex. People keep moving to our country. People keep buying and making expensive electronic devices. All these things totally trump any reduction in useage that changing lightbulb technology could ever hope to bring to the table. We need sustainable power generation, and we needed it yesterday.

Re:I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133120)

CFLs are an improvement over incandecent for a number of reasons, but believing that switching to them would in some fashion mean that we wont need new power plants is retarded in and of itself.

Yet that is what the government tells us is the reason for forcing us to change to CFLs. If we don't change, then the extra coal plants needed will cause Global Warming, and we will all die horribly.

We need sustainable power generation, and we needed it yesterday.

But not nuclear power. Those will cause all of our women to grow into 50 foot giants, the insects to mutate, dead people to rise as zombies, and nuclear explosions. And the global warming caused by one nuclear power plant will cause a new ice age to start, and nobody would want that.

Re:I thought (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133580)

Tech marches on. I notice that my 47" LCD HDTV uses much less energy than my 32" CRT television did. It weighs a hell of a lot less too. You'd think with all these new devices that use less power than the old stuff that eventually things would at least stop getting worse.

Re:I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133162)

First off not everyone has switched yet to CFLs and demand for electricity keeps going up. Buy any new electronic devices lately? Whenever there's a story about alternative energy there's a lot of posts that fall into the "change bad" category. Hate to break it to you but something is going to change and soon. I was expecting a lot of posts about why not give it to nuclear plants? Nuclear has always been subsidized like every other traditional forms. The smallest subsides have always been for alternative sources. Odds are we'd have cheap solar if solar had been given the same subsides as oil and oil prices keep going up. There actually are cheap forms of solar like the spray on process but there are few machines out there to make them.

Offshore wind is a massive win/win. Rich people are freaked out that they may be visible from shore but they drastically reduce the downsides. Fewer birds killed and more reliable wind. Also the eyesore factor is greatly reduced or eliminated. It's doubtful we could build enough nuclear plants in time. Oil is just going to keep getting more expensive. Coal is the most polluting source. Natural Gas? Watch the documentary "Gasland" and get back to me about natural gas. If that's the best option for extracting gas I'd rather switch to all coal.

Re:I thought (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133622)

Seriously though, while in Hawaii a few...hmmmm.....over a decade ago, I noticed they had all these huge windmills on Oahu. They didn't seem to be working too well so I asked about them. It seems that when they got the bright idea to put them up the didn't think about the trade winds carrying all that salt. It seems salt is very bad for machinery, to the point that the operating costs exceeded the price of the electricity they generated. So at least I hope that they've thought about this problem with offshore units. Of course, if the government is involved it's very likely that no thought at all has gone into it.

this reminds me of putting lasers on sharks (3, Funny)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35132998)

"the relatively high cost of offshore wind energy;"

think about this for a moment. what would have happened if they had decided it cost too much to put lasers on sharks?

we wouldn't have any shark based lasers then would we? and then Hitler would have won World War I, and we'd all be speaking Japanese.

Most folks don't want an energy source nearby (3, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Most folks don't want an energy source nearby (0, Flamebait)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133082)

1) windmills don't explode. Certainly not in a fashion that cause people's shadows to be burned into concrete like the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.

2) windmills do not HAVE to be "ugly." Seen kinetic art? No reason whatsoever the two cannot be one and the same. Even still, efficient designs are beautiful in and of themselves in their own way-- much the same way that a skyscraper can be beautiful.

3) It's more likely that the "I dont like it! WAAAAAH" from rich and powerful people has more to do with how heavily invested they are in "traditional" energy sources, than with any real or tangible complaint.

Re:Most folks don't want an energy source nearby (3, Informative)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133386)

1) windmills don't explode. Certainly not in a fashion that cause people's shadows to be burned into concrete like the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.

Nuclear reactors don't explode, unless they're made of graphite and mismanaged to the point where hydrogen gas builds up and goes poof. They've never caused people's shadows to be burned into concrete, and never will; you can't make 'em go supercritical.

2) and 3): I do agree with you there, but windmills are a really expensive way to generate power, and those generators are difficult enough to keep operating without exposing them to salt water spray.

Why not stick a nuclear reactor out there instead of a windmill? It wouldn't be visible from shore, wouldn't even need a cooling tower since you could use the sea water as a heat sink, and would be far enough out to reduce any chance of radiation leakage hitting the short to a minimum.

Re:Most folks don't want an energy source nearby (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133490)

I do agree with you there, but windmills are a really expensive way to generate power, and those generators are difficult enough to keep operating without exposing them to salt water spray.

Why not stick a nuclear reactor out there instead of a windmill? It wouldn't be visible from shore, wouldn't even need a cooling tower since you could use the sea water as a heat sink, and would be far enough out to reduce any chance of radiation leakage hitting the short to a minimum.

Because for all the cost of an expensive wind plant, it's dwarfed by the construction and maintenance costs of a nuclear plant. Putting one offshore means more hassles getting the power inshore, more hassles with security and even more hassles with salt water corrosion. One of the really amusing things about trying to wean ourselves off fossil fuels is that we're more than willing to spend billions upon billions of dollars bankrolling nuc plants, we don't give but pennies to wind / water.

Re:Most folks don't want an energy source nearby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133862)

- How is getting nuke electricity onshore more difficult than getting wind electricity onshore?
- An offshore site would be a lot more difficult to attack than a plant on land.
- Windmills corrode too.
- The main expense in nuke plants is complying with all the ridiculous environmental regulations.

Passive nuclear plants don't explode, either. (2, Informative)

xmark (177899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133532)

They're called pebble bed reactors. These are what we should be building. They are self-moderating without active control systems.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor [wikipedia.org]

That said, it should still be noted that even conventional water-cooled reactors don't explode in a fashion that cause people's shadows to be burned into concrete like the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Spreading that kind of image is irresponsible. Nuclear power has legitimate risks, and those are what should be discussed.

Meanwhile, individual windmills may or may not be aesthetic, according to one's sensibilities, but it's a hard argument that gigantic collections of them don't visually and sonically degrade open spaces and natural surroundings. Individual snowmobiles or speedboats may be graceful and beautiful, but put a few hundred of them together in a formerly serene place and their grace and beauty evaporate.

Windmills additionally kill lots of birds, including raptors and threatened species, and they do that continuously. They also have high rates of mechanical failure, and require expensive on-site maintenance. Worst of all, because of the uneven nature of their generation, they cannot replace baseline power stations, which limits them to marginal contributions above the peak demand curve. As more wind power comes on line, utilities are constructing natural gas plants to provide backup peak reserve, lest wind not be available at the moment needed. In other words, not only is wind power expensive on its own, but it often requires additional expenditure for backup generation.

I don't see how one must be rich and powerful to dislike the impact of large scale wind power. There are uses and places for it, but its shortcomings are hard to dismiss when considering large-scale application. What I see are decisions and allocations being made on the basis of political, rather than engineering, analyses. That kind of thinking often leads to trouble.

Re:Most folks don't want an energy source nearby (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133568)

Kennedy is dead. Start construction already.

Remember Carter? (2)

amightywind (691887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133046)

$50 million from the government because there is no profit potential in private industry. Like every other green energy initiative. Remember Carter? This one too will fail. Wind is less than 1% as efficient as coal. You can't change physics. The government will take the hard earned money of young families anyway, mal-invest it, and divert it to cronies like Jeff Immelt at GE. A sick con where there is no accountability. How ironic when there is an amazing revolution going on in natural gas extraction from shale in the US. The eco-left has found reason to hate it too.

Re:Remember Carter? (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133142)

Most of the pricepoint for wind is tied up in all the "Impact studies" that have been tied to it by various NIMBY groups.

"how will it impact tourism?"
"how will it impact the migratory habits of the eastern canada goose?"
"how will it impact cellular telephone reception?" ... ... ...
"How will it impact the local congressman's chances for re-election?"

With pretty much all of them being valued at OVER the 50 million startup capital investment made by this move.
Quite amusing how all these impact studies get tacked on to projects intended to make everyone's life better, but not on building or development projects of similar scope or magnitude in civic centers. When was the last time you saw a cellular telephone tower getting tied down with impact studies on sparrows? Didn't think so.

Re:Remember Carter? (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133260)

The economic value of the recreational waters off of Cape Cod vastly outweigh the profit potential of wind. And how did the developer obtain the rights for this incredibly valuable offshore property? Did they pay the citizens of Massachusetts. Of course not. They knew someone. NIMBY is at least as valid as a defense as the absurd energy justification for the project.

Re:Remember Carter? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133634)

Think how cool the wreckage will be to dive and fish on.

I'm looking forward to the controlled demolition. Something for my old age.

Re:Remember Carter? (3, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Remember Carter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133804)

And when fossil fuels become scarce and expensive enough that it is necessary to switch, amazingly wind or other sources would actually become competitive from a cost standpoint. At the moment, even including externalities such as pollution from coal or gas, wind and other forms of "green" energy are ridiculously expensive in comparison. Choosing expensive forms of energy generation, just because, does nothing but increase our debt.

Re:Remember Carter? (3, Interesting)

pcr_teacher (1977472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133620)

What does the efficiency matter when the resource is free? What is more important is the capital cost and
the operating costs. I would be curious to see a citation for your claim of 1% efficiency of wind turbines.

next on the news.. (1)

dvbuser (1989594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133096)

Next on the news.. oil tanker inexplicably takes a wrong turn and plows through wind farm.

Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133136)

In 2014, General Fusion [generalfusion.com] will have us all living like in Star Trek.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133478)

This is an impressive company. Their top science people are engineers who used to work for an imaging company. I somehow have a firm faith they'll save us from our energy dependence to fossil fuel by developing a warp reactor.

I am looking forward to cheaper shark steaks (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133144)

When they chum the waters with seabirds, the fishing ought to be excellent!

Re:I am looking forward to cheaper shark steaks (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133686)

I hadn't thought about that part. I'm for anything that will help do something about the damn seagulls.

Lobbying in 5, 4 3... (1)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133164)

Oh dear. It'll cost the oil and coal lobby at least that much in "campaign contributions" to make this problem go away.

Re:Lobbying in 5, 4 3... (1)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133406)

Oh dear. It'll cost the oil and coal lobby at least that much in "campaign contributions" to make this problem go away.

The average energy company out there is involved in multiple energy sources, both traditional and alternative. Finding a company that sticks to just oil or coal is pretty rare.

I'm assuming by your comment that you have hatred towards the energy companies because they continue to use earth resources. If so, then you should look at this as a $50 million bonus to those exact same companies. It was their lobbying and campaign contributions that convinced the government to give away our money.

As someone who has no investment in energy companies, and someone that uses less than the national average of energy, I think this is just a waste of my money. Let the big energy consumers pay for the research that energy companies do into alternate fuels. It shouldn't come from my taxes.

Re:Lobbying in 5, 4 3... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133694)

I was under the impression that the oil companies were into alternative energy as well. They're looking for the next market to corner.

Re:Lobbying in 5, 4 3... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133976)

We just have to think of a way to make this water wind farm nuclear, and it'll have all the momentum it needs...slashdot posters will take it viral

Sounds like the recipe for ham and eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133194)

If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs. If we had eggs.
Impractical, unproven technology lacking even the theoretical underpinnings required.
Like handing a junkie a Bible and saying "Go thou and be blessed.."
It can be done, but incrementally, over a LOT of time.

Do it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133208)

It's the idea with the most support and the least opposition. Kill some birds why don't ya?

not enough $$$ (2)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133224)

$50 million is not quite enough to cover the bureaucracy necessary to manage the effort....

Re:not enough $$$ (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133706)

Yeah. I thought the super sized windmills are 5 million each?

"US Government buys 10 windmills. Silent on what it blew 1 TRILLION DOLLARS on."

$50M is not an impressive figure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133286)

They're spending $47 million just to improve the off-ramp near my house...

What a pathetic joke this investment is.

Wind energy is harmful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133304)

Current technology can not capture wind energy in a way that is not harmful to the environment.

The machines (generators, huge gear boxes, etc) that capture wind make a lot of noise and vibration. Especially low frequency sound. This has been proven countless times that it is harmful to humans and other animals (maybe even plant life).

That same noise and vibration causes a significant maintenance burden as well. The machinery gets beaten to hell because of it. So it's harmful in several ways.

Until that is fixed then wind energy is a no-go.

Re:Wind energy is harmful (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133332)

[citation needed]

Re:Wind energy is harmful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133402)

Ever heard of Google?

look it up yourself you lazy bitches

Re:Wind energy is harmful (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133572)

The onus is on you. You need proof for your dubious claims before I can even begin to fathom how sounds can do that to living things (especially since they are already everywhere around us anyway, solely because there are living beings).

Not very ambitious (2)

tlassanske (1536269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133378)

The Google offshore project will only generate 6,000 MW. That's merely the equivalent of 5 time-traveling DeLoreans!

Re:Not very ambitious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133492)

I'm pretty sure DeLoreans need at least 1.21 Giga-Watts

A legitimate waste of dollars (1)

OKCfunky (1016860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133452)

It really doesn't make sense why they push offshore wind energy when they can't even get 60% utilization of the wind farms located on farmland. Besides, the only people profiting from this kind of project are the generator manufacturers and the installers who snag ludicrously lucrative maintenance contracts. If it is as remotely bad as the rural wind farms are, then this ocean one will be a doozy in cost inefficiency.

Re:A legitimate waste of dollars (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133898)

The best spots for sustained winds are offshore (including in the great lakes), this is how you get better than 60% utilization, by putting them where the wind is consistent.

Fires up? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133476)

US To Fire Up Big Offshore Wind Energy Projects

That headline just seems seriously broken to me ... you can fire up a generator, or a boiler ... because, you know, there's fire involved ... but "firing up offshore wind energy" just seems rather incongruous.

Sounds like someone is mixing their batter into their metaphors, or something like that.

Missouri? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133486)

I live in Missouri you insensitive clod!

strange brew that's also good for you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133510)

that would be home made kombucha(org). it's alive.

offshore this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133540)

How about firing up some offshore DRILLING Projects and get us off of the Arab TIT while we develop an new portable energy source.

Missed the BIGGEST Challenge (2, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133720)

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:Missed the BIGGEST Challenge (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Missed the BIGGEST Challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133956)

True. Although, nowadays these folks are called BANANAs, (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone)...

Why not kill all subsidies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133740)

Why not get rid of all subsidies? Not just for green projects, but for oil, gas, and the rest. Take the government finger off of the scale. When you think about it, solar and wind can basically pull energy out of thin air. Gas and oil require lots of development, exploration, etc... If we stop subsidizing gas and oil, maybe investors will see the potentials of the technology. Alternate energy becomes more competitive, because it becomes more efficient.The market isn't the best solution for everything, but I think this is one area where it would do a good job.

So reliable (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133808)

Harnessing wind and other green technologies is great, but I wouldn't bet my life on any of them except hydro. The problem with things like the wind is that when the wind stops blowing (or blows too strong), the wind turbines don't put out electricity. I remember driving by miles of idle windmills in California. Don't know why they weren't turning, but it indicates to me that there is an inherent problem with depending on the technology.

Glad to see crony capitalism is still going strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133852)

Apparently we don’t funnel enough money to oil, coal, nuclear, solar and ethanol subsidies, we had better make sure we waste tax dollars on inefficient wind power producers as well. What a joke. Are Ron and Rand Paul the only people in congress who don’t believe in the corporate and personal welfare state?

Cleanup (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35133868)

Who is going to clean it up if there is a major wind spill???

Learning from failure? Fresh History repeats. (1)

WarmNoodles (899413) | more than 3 years ago | (#35133930)

Hmm, my my, where have I heard this before?
Perhaps here? http://www.pickensplan.com/theplan/ [pickensplan.com]

      * Create millions of new jobs by building out the capacity to generate up to 22 percent of our electricity from wind. And adding to that with additional solar generation capacity;
        * Building a 21st century backbone electrical transmission grid;
        * Providing incentives for homeowners and the owners of commercial buildings to upgrade their insulation and other energy saving options; and
        * Using America's natural gas to replace imported oil as a transportation fuel in addition to its other uses in power generation, chemicals, etc.

While dependence on foreign oil is a critical concern, it is not a problem that can be solved in isolation. We have to think about energy as a whole, and that begins by considering our energy alternatives and thinking about how we will fuel our world in the next 10 to 20 years and beyond.

So, one has to wonder how does pending 50 million $ I'm with the government, and I'm here to help plan contrast and qualitatively learn from the 80 Million spend on the private sector T. Boone Pickens 80 million dollar plan.

And where was the press when Mr. Boon Pickens was spending and promoting is 80 million dollar effort, Oh I forgot they were /removed obvious remark/.
Hey, but they did report $80 Million the loss Here http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40612094/ns/business-oil_and_energy/ [msn.com]

Now don't mod me down for point out how history repeats. Its just sad how politics colors engineering, and renewable energy is a learnable technology, I'm just not sure anyone's trying to learn.

From the Owego Pennysaver (3, Funny)

jacks0n (112153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134124)

"I believe that mountain lions go downwind to stalk their prey. Is there any chance that the increased wind caused by the windmills has led to an influx of mountain lions because their prey is easier to stalk? Somebody should look into this." -Anon Reader, Dec. 19, 2010

"To the person who knows about the windmills in Western New York. Is there an entity to call to see is we can get them turned off for a couple weeks. We need some snow in the area before the people who plow snow go out of business. I think they keep pushing the storms back to the coast." -Anon Reader, Dec. 26, 2010

"It was a very calm day today so I drove out to see the windmills to set the record straight. Just as I thought, there was no wind today because they were not moving at all. The next windy day, I am driving out again and I bet they will be turning like crazy." -Anon Reader, Jan. 9, 2011

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