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Virginia Approves First Offshore Wind-Energy Turbine For US Waters

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the sic-semper-ventus dept.

Power 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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83 comments

first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504337)

kill all nigers and jews

Re:first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504369)

I hope you're fucking proud.

Re:first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504877)

Oh Long Johnson

Re:first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504823)

-1 tedious

Re:first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504879)

More like -10 no grasp of Mitochondrial DNA.

How much for how much? (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504349)

How much is it costing to get that 5MW of power?

Re:How much for how much? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504417)

The prototype 5 MW unit (the article said 5 kW — that's a typo) should be up and running by next year.

Yeah. Sounds like the niggers who call themselves Slashdot "Editors" work for that company too.

And you're an idiot. Maybe you're a nigger. "How much for how much" you say... the second "how much" is 5MW. Dumbass. The dollar amount is the only question. That's one "how much". Douchebag. Dipshit. Gay Nigger. Fuckhead. Numbnuts. Dickhole. Dill weed. Jigaboo.

Re:How much for how much? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504689)

You are just scared to admit you love black dick up your ass

Re:How much for how much? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504791)

You are just scared to admit you love black dick up your ass

No. What really does scare me is the thought that maybe yo mama is fertile after all.

Re:How much for how much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504481)

How much is it costing to get that 5MW of power?

Just right. Otherwise:

* if it's too expensive, some would whinge about the use of (taxpayer?) money; even if the project is a private initiative... they would have to whinge about something, don't they? (in other words, why the hell did you ask this question?)
* if it's too cheap, the federal govt would impose some import tariffs.

Re:How much for how much? (0, Troll)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504517)

That's 1.5 MW real-world, the YMMV is about 25% data-plate output for bird-sherders.

Re:How much for how much? (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504667)

Wrong. You're confusing instantaneous power and energy.
If you're so confident that the turbine will only output a quarter of its rated power, try hooking to wiring and a distribution system that can only handle 1.5 MW but use fuses rated for 5 MW.

Re:How much for how much? (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39530333)

That's another problem with wind turbines, you have to build up to the data-plate capacity for the peak output for your electrical infrastructure yet the more typical output is 1/4 to 1/3 of that.

Re:How much for how much? (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#39530457)

Turbines have problems but that isn't one of them. Even with radical improvements with efficiency, electrical use will grow over time unless we have a devastating collapse of society. So building up ( and improving the electrical infrastructure ) is not a problem. And when some other super-fantastical energy source is commercialized, the grid will be ready.

Re:How much for how much? (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504717)

You are also confusing the fact that off-shore winds blow pretty steady compared to on-land. IIRC, it will produce more more than 33% (which is the norm for most wind).

Re:How much for how much? (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505149)

Off-shore wind farms have a problem of wind blowing too fast, forcing shut down of the farm. This is something that danish and german folks discovered early in their attempts to get wind farms to produce meaningful amounts of power.

It's even worse in oceans then inland seas.

Re:How much for how much? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:How much for how much? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505881)

I don't think you know what "regenerative breaking" means as all power generation based on generator hooked to a turbine is essentially "regenerative breaking" and has been so for the last century. To use an automotive term where this was a relatively recent application of relatively ancient science suggests ignorance. I also don't think you know what causes the stoppage (hint: material science limiting forces acceptable before wear and tear becomes unfeasible).

Re:How much for how much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39510739)

Regenerative breaking, as in the process of hooking a generator up to extract power from a motion source instead of just converting the kinetic energy to heat? Sounds like the breakthrough wind power needed, as I can't imagine how inefficient wind turbine based electricity was before they hooked up generators.

Re:How much for how much? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39519135)

I have a serious question to the three people who modded parent "informative". How do you think "older designed" transformed kinetic energy into electric if not via a generator (i.e. "regenerative breaking"). I mean this is a fairly obvious troll, but to have three people actually fall for it is rather amusing.

Re:How much for how much? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505697)

Off-shore wind farms have a problem of wind blowing too fast, forcing shut down of the farm. This is something that danish and german folks discovered early in their attempts to get wind farms to produce meaningful amounts of power.

Has nobody invented a way to handle this other than shutting down the farm? It seems like it could be handled more gracefully by feathering or partially retracting the vanes, or lowering the tower, or switching to a higher gear, or something...

Re:How much for how much? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505857)

As I understood it from white paper, the problem is immense amount of stress caused on moving parts when beyond certain wind speeds. Essentially degradation of materials starts to grow exponentially, so while you probably could use them at marginally faster wind speed then is maximum now, wear and tear would become completely economically unfeasible.

Issue is with material science, we simply do not have materials that can withstand forces involved that would be applicable to use in a windmill.

Re:How much for how much? (2)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#39508871)

Has nobody invented a way to handle this other than shutting down the farm?

Why yes they have! [power-talk.net]

There's about half a dozen different techniques, and while there's definitely still room for innovation the problem is effectively solved for large off-shore wind turbines.

But the anti-wind nutbags like to ignore facts that don't fit their narrative - in the anti-wind world, there is no such thing as energy storage (cue shrill cries of "the wind doesn't always blow") and there is no way to deal with too much wind. You can't reason with them.

I'd bet more than 33% (4, Interesting)

stomv (80392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506979)

NREL's ewits study modeled wind speed every 10 minutes at 1000s of sites both on- and -off-shore on the Eastern Interconnect, excluding the Southeast, at 80m and 100m hub height. They included a number of sites in VA and NC, both on and off-shore. I just happen to be working on a study now involving the data.

I chose 20 of their VA and NC offshore samples by sorting them by lat long and choosing every nth. I then ran the wind speed data of each sample through the power curve of a Vestas V112 3MW turbine [5MW turbines weren't appropriate for the study]. I then calculated the capacity factor at 100m hub height for all 8760*6*20 samples, and averaged. Capacity factor: 55.1%. Which is to say, the energy generated over the course of the year for a single 3 MW turbine at 100m hub height, expressed in MWh, will be 0.551 * 3MW * 8760. Of course, this is a model, not a prediction. The power density curve for a 5 MW turbine isn't exactly that of a 3 MW turbine, it may have maintenance issues, it may shut down during tropical storms and hurricanes, it may be in a site which is below the 20 site average, it may not be exactly 100m hub height (though 479 feet to tip of blade at max height seems close), it may and the NREL model which created the wind speeds may not be spot on either. I wouldn't bet the farm it hits 55.1% capacity factor, but I'd bet that it does significantly better than 33%.

This isn't to pick on the parent of this post, but more generally... like everything, the details matter. Like all things non-CS/CE, the /. collective is smart and educated enough to understand the conclusions, but not experienced enough in the specific area to produce quality conclusions. /rant

P.S. There isn't a "norm" for most wind... capacity factors on-shore in tUSA range from low 20s to almost 50. The capacity factor is only one input to determine the cost effectiveness of an installation. Other really important factors include the specific hours in the day that wind is expected to generating electricity, the challenge of installing turbines *at that specific location* [roads, foundation, transmission, etc], the requirements for permitting in that city/town and state (and sometimes Fed permitting too), the locational marginal price of electricity [if in ISONE, NYISO, PJM, ERCOT, CAISO, or to a lesser extent, MISO (ie New England, New York, North Atlantic ranging to Chicago, Texas, California, or the rest of the Midwest, roughly)] in the region, the value of capacity payments, the value of RECs or other environmental payments, and I'm sure I've left a few out.

Re:How much for how much? (3, Insightful)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504557)

Dunno - how about asking how much the total life cycle cost of 5MW of wind power vs total life cycle cost of 5MW of coal power? In these costs, include all subsidies or their fractional equivalents. Don't forget the cost of transporting feedstock, the cost of mining the materials for construction of the initial plant, the subsidies included in the fuel to transport the feedstock, and so forth. Shall we get into potential health costs - both to those living near the power generators and those who mine the materials and feedstock? Often I find people exclude a lot from the costs of one source of power (coal) to skew the results. Now, I'm not saying wind power is cheap - but I am saying it is like a comparing an MMO to a stand-alone game... one you have to pay over the lifetime of use, the other you pay mainly up-front costs.

Re:How much for how much? (2)

blindseer (891256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505461)

If we're going to add up these costs for coal then we need consider the incidental costs for wind as well. First thing that comes to mind is the 5MW natural gas turbines needed for when the wind does not blow.

Re:How much for how much? (4, Insightful)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505859)

You know... it's amazing that every time alternative energy opportunities come up in the US, there are always people standing in line with 1000 reasons why it CAN'T be done.

With this kind of attitude you will NEVER get weaned off fossil fuels and digging big holes in the ground. You must be able to accept compromises, there is no 100% perfect solution to the world's energy needs. A balanced and layered approach is what will do the job, yet these are all blocked for insane reasons.

Grow a pair, and build out the alternative energy infrastructure you desperately need. You can no longer rely on fossil fuels as your main energy source. You will need nuclear, wind, solar and water power generation to provide your energy. Yes, taken individually, each have their drawbacks. That is why you need a layered approach. Combined, there is no reason why they can't replace fossil fuels.

Stop whining and DO SOMETHING!

Re:How much for how much? (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 2 years ago | (#39516143)

His username is "blindseer" - he lacks vision in more ways than one.

Re:How much for how much? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506011)

When the wind doesn't blow, the power is supplied by the same standard power plants that have been running all this time. When the wind blows, those standard power plants can decrease their output. At least that's what they do in countries like Spain. In some cases, energy from the wind is stored in uphill reservoirs at night and used when demand is high. New batteries, hydrogen from electrolysis and other energy storage means are being developed.

Re:How much for how much? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506013)

If we're going to add up these costs for coal then we need consider the incidental costs for wind as well. First thing that comes to mind is the 5MW natural gas turbines needed for when the wind does not blow.

This won't be a problem in practice until/unless wind power reaches around 10% of generation capacity. I hope it will be an issue eventually, but it is far from it at the moment

Re:How much for how much? (1)

inpher (1788434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506573)

This won't be a problem in practice until/unless wind power reaches around 10% of generation capacity. I hope it will be an issue eventually, but it is far from it at the moment

At that point (>10%) the wind power generators should be spread over a very large area, reducing the probability that the entire installed base of generators will generate a low output at the same time. There are also other things to consider such as the likelihood that calm days will be sunnier days (not always, but often) therefore somewhat increasing the output from solar power. Combined with a smart grid and other sources of electricity such as nuclear and gas and tidal power there you have a recipe for a coal-free future.

There is also the ability to use pumped/stored hydropower combined with wind power to respond to peak demand or a short time when all other sources of at a low.

Re:How much for how much? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39507087)

This won't be a problem in practice until/unless wind power reaches around 10% of generation capacity. I hope it will be an issue eventually, but it is far from it at the moment

At that point (>10%) the wind power generators should be spread over a very large area, reducing the probability that the entire installed base of generators will generate a low output at the same time. There are also other things to consider such as the likelihood that calm days will be sunnier days (not always, but often) therefore somewhat increasing the output from solar power. Combined with a smart grid and other sources of electricity such as nuclear and gas and tidal power there you have a recipe for a coal-free future.

There is also the ability to use pumped/stored hydropower combined with wind power to respond to peak demand or a short time when all other sources of at a low.

True, I have seen analysis that shows that continent sized grids can guarantee supply. The other thing that I think could be explored is variable pricing to large industrial consumers, though this should be put in place as a "green energy discount" - i.e. cheaper than now at times when there is an excess amount. Some industries can time their consumption to take advantage of lower price. I know that in the UK water companies pump water into towers and high-level reservoirs at night when electric demand is low, some of these operations they could delay if there was a daily price variation.

Re:How much for how much? (1)

stomv (80392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39507023)

A fair point, the grid needs both energy (which winds provide) and capacity (of which winds don't provide much). As a result, wind turbines don't get full capacity credit -- a 100MW wind farm doesn't get 100MW of capacity credit, but it doesn't get 0MW either. After all, given the amount of wind turbines in most regions, there is enough geographic diversity that there is always some wind generation. Each ISO determines their own capacity credit. MISO [midwest] uses 20% -- a 100 MW wind installation "needs" 80MW of gas to create 100MW of capacity.

The value in wind isn't to reduce capacity requirements (much). The value is that when the wind is blowing, you need to burn less fuel in those coal or natural gas power plants *which would be built whether or not the wind turbines are built*. It's that avoided fuel cost, avoided SOx and NOx pollutant permits, avoided Hg emissions, avoided ash ponds, avoided CO2 emissions, avoided water consumption, and so forth which all have value, and wind allows for less of all of those things.

Re:How much for how much? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39507669)

That is actually better than nuclear. In the UK nuclear is not considered a reliable source of energy because a given reactor could suddenly go offline for any number of reasons. Wind is considered reliable because wind speed is easily predictable in the short term and because there are lots of turbines a small number of failures won't knock out hundreds of megawatts.

In other words we need just as much reserve capacity for nuclear, only it has to be available instantly instead of with a half hour spool-up time.

Re:How much for how much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39508697)

Shall we get into potential health costs - both to those living near the power generators and those who mine the materials and feedstock?

How about the health costs of life living near giant windmills? They generate a lot of vibration and low frequency noise which has been shown time and again to cause anxiety and other mental health issues in humans and animals.

Too expensive (1)

willpb (1168125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504413)

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.

Re:Too expensive (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504491)

Twenty years is a long time. And after 20 years, you pull the turbine at the top of the towers and replace it with a new one, and slap the blades back on. The new one will be more efficient, cost less, and probably weigh less too, due to technology improvements over time.

The hard part is getting it permitted and construction started.
Keeping them maintained after the fact is just routine.

Re:Too expensive (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 2 years ago | (#39516225)

For offshore turbines in salt water, there may be signficantly more maintenance involved. But nothing that would be a showstopper. After all, this isn't groundbreaking - Denmark installed a 11 turbine farm over 20 yrs ago. That said, replacing the huge blades / nacelles on modern turbines at sea could get really tricky - those steady winds and rough seas work against you when there's major maintenance.

Re:Too expensive (5, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:Too expensive (4, Interesting)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504795)

To be a bit more specific, the bond is posted to make sure that the cost of removing the structure is covered, even if the company goes out of business. At today's interest rates, that should not be a terrible burden on the company. (They probably issued bonds to cover the bond).

Based on what is described in the article, this is how it should be done, IMO. No subsidies or tax gimmicks. The company, not the taxpayer, bears the economic risk. I tend to be skeptical of the viability of a lot of these alternative energy projects, but if they can make this work profitably, or even come close to breaking even while advancing the state of the art, it's a win for everyone. More power to 'em.

Re:Too expensive (3, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504643)

If a $2.1 million bond is required in case they need to remove the structure.

Yeah, clearly they should just work like every other industry in America and when they close up shop, dump it on the taxpayers as a Superfund site.

Re:Too expensive (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505109)

Yeah, clearly they should just work like every other industry in America and when they close up shop, dump it on the taxpayers as a Superfund site.

While it might be different now, it's worth remembering that the Superfund program was remarkably shoddy, bureaucratic and should have been unconstitutional as an ex post facto law (it's status as civilian rather than criminal law seems more a dodge to get around that). So naturally, it was more reasonable for companies which had engaged in lawful activities to go bankrupt than deal with many years of Superfund legal nonsense and vast liabilities.

And given that the taxpayers voted for the people who created the Superfund program and wanted the sites cleaned, it makes sense for taxpayers to foot the bill.

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39510017)

Subsidizing clean energy is bad because it's government interference. Subsidizing coal is ok because the government is democratic.

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39517729)

should have been unconstitutional as an ex post facto law

The only arguments I've seen against its constitutionality is the ability of the feds to levy fines as punishment without due process.

Any claims of "ex post facto" were thrown out when the feds rounded up everyone with kiddy porn published prior to the outlawing of kiddy porn, and any claims that interstate trade doesn't cover what you dump in your back yard could have been good, at least until people started dumping pot seeds in their backyard and their backyard became interstate trade.

where are you ppl when wars start? (4, Interesting)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505315)

you dont want to build anything even remotely wasteful in regards to solar or wind, but by god lets throw a trillion dollars down the toilet to invade iraq and afghanistan for ten fucking years and accomplish some goal that nobody ever defined clearly.

Re:where are you ppl when wars start? (2)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39507337)

Mod +200 - No fucking shit.

Re:where are you ppl when wars start? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511429)

Straw man much?

Not so fast (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 [mnn.com] about this time last year (April 2011). Held up by yet another appeal due VFR (small plane) flights [courthousenews.com] 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 [capewind.org] .

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

Re:Not so fast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504565)

It's being held up because they've only found a buyer for half their energy output. The state is trying to get the other (there are two) big energy company that does business in the state to buy the other half, but since the Cape Wind rate is substantially higher than market (talking something like 18 cents per kWH) they haven't made the sale yet. Mass. has been exerting pressure by threatening to hold up approval for a big acquisition by the holdout energy co.

Re:Not so fast (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504815)

I've always wondered how much the 10 years or so of foot dragging is figured into the Cape Wind rate. Anyone have an idea?

They've cleared that hurdle too (1)

stomv (80392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39507035)

As part of the NStar-Northeastern merger, the new company has agreed to purchase 27.5% of the output from the Cape Wind project. See http://www.wbur.org/2012/02/15/cape-wind-power [wbur.org]

That means that Cape Wind has got contracts for 77.5% of their output -- enough to satisfy the bankers that the project will have the cash flow to repay the bankers. Which is to say, that is no longer a Cape Wind hurdle.

Re:Not so fast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504681)

Delaware also approved a wind farm three or four years ago.Seventeen miles off the Delaware coastline. Delawareans also have found out that approval does not mean instant construction. Lack of funding on the federal level has basically shut the building down.This plan was approved by the energy company that services Delaware but the companies that attempted to actually build the farm either went out of business or failed to get funding.

Re:Not so fast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505101)

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/solar-wind/texas-to-cape-wind [popularmechanics.com]

Texas is in the race, too. They have a stronger history of offshore infrastructure thanks to drilling for oil in the gulf, not to mention fewer environmental regulations and the largest onshore wind-power industry in the nation. Still, a couple of Texas offshore projects have been saying they'll have the first offshore turbine within a year... for the past two or three years.

It sounds like Virginia is pretty far behind, if they're only just now predicting that it will take less than a year. ;)

Will they be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504541)

Given what Newport News Shipbuilding builds,... Will they be nuclear wind turbines?

Flattened by a hurricane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504549)

in 3..2..1..

Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504687)

Why is USA going to everywhere EXCEPT here in America to do manufacturing. This has gotten so old.

can someone explain (0)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504859)

why wind is ever considered over solar? I mean, if the Sun dies, so do we, whereas if the wind stop blowing... no power.

Re:can someone explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39504911)

why wind is ever considered over solar? I mean, if the Sun dies, so do we, whereas if the wind stop blowing... no power.

And if the wind stops blowing, I'm pretty sure we're fucked too.

Re:can someone explain (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505459)

The wind doesn't need to stop blowing, it just needs to blow in the wrong direction, keep changing directions, or not be very strong.

Re:can someone explain (2)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505801)

If only a windmill could point itself into into the wind with aerodynamics or something... and have large sweeping blades...

Re:can someone explain (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511513)

There are compromises in turbine design. If they're designed to turn in low wind, their top speed is reduced, and vice versa. These are solvable problems, but not easy ones.

Re:can someone explain (2)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505711)

why wind is ever considered over solar? I mean, if the Sun dies, so do we, whereas if the wind stop blowing... no power.

As far as a solar power plant is concerned, the sun 'dies' every evening, and stays 'dead' until sunrise the next day.

Re:can someone explain (1)

inpher (1788434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506627)

why wind is ever considered over solar? I mean, if the Sun dies, so do we, whereas if the wind stop blowing... no power.

As far as a solar power plant is concerned, the sun 'dies' every evening, and stays 'dead' until sunrise the next day.

Exactly, but as there are some solutions [wikipedia.org] , then we can factor in the fact that peak power demand is usually in the daytime at about 30% more power demanded at noon compared to the low at about three in the morning. Though most (probably all) alternative sources are best when they work in tandem, for example there is likely to be more wind when there is less sun and the other way around.

Do I understand ? (4, Insightful)

BlueTak (1218450) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504957)

Reading the article, I understand that there is, just now, no offshore wind turbine near the coast of the US. It's so incredible for us Europeans, who have thousands of them for some years now that I think I have missed something....

Re:Do I understand ? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505163)

You mostly missed on a lot of coal and natural gas plants ready to pick up the slack and massive maintenance costs.

Re:Do I understand ? (3, Informative)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Do I understand ? (1)

BlueTak (1218450) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505521)

OK Thanks for your clear explanations !

Re:Do I understand ? (1)

stomv (80392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39507055)

California also can't have much wind because there's not much shallow water. The geology results in California being near a shelf of sorts -- the water depth gets very deep very close to shore. Wind turbines are built in shallow water, for obvious reasons. Most of California doesn't have the geology for offshore wind turbines.

Re:Do I understand ? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39507167)

I guess I figured they could put them on floating structures too. But that does seem rather complicated with lots of little, moving, easy to break pieces.

Re:Do I understand ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39508395)

The US does subsidize wind power, and has for thirty years. Coastal wind power has a few more wickets to get approved.

Re:Do I understand ? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39517985)

The US does subsidize wind power, and has for thirty years.

I don't know the relative levels, but I doubt the US funds wind as much as Europe does.

Re:Do I understand ? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505291)

The EU dumped cash into them. The US has a powerful coal, oil, gas lobby.
The lack of a neat feedin "tax" and real political cash at risk makes it different in the USA.
The US elite also like their sailing and views. Power is best from the inner fly over states with lots of poverty.
Reality for the UK is setting in http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100142400/wind-farms-even-worse-than-we-thought/ [telegraph.co.uk]
i.e. the feed in tax in the EU and the energy lobby/wealth vote in the US are two different boondoggles that local politics knows how to work with.

Re:Do I understand ? (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513669)

Interesting. The report http://thegwpf.org/images/stories/gwpf-reports/hughes-windpower.pdf [thegwpf.org] states "...would require a total investment of some £120 billion in wind turbines and back-up. The same amount of electricity could be generated by gas-fired power plants that would only cost £13 billion..." OK, fine. But that's the cost of the hardware. How much is the cost of fuel to run those gas-fired power plants? Wind turbines and gas-fired plants both require maintenance and overhaul/replacement, but wind is free, however intermittent. They are also claiming pretty low capacity (10-20% of theoretical). Based on just that one section, it looks to me like they are intentionally playing games with the numbers to make wind power look much more expensive than it really is.

lumbar fusion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505609)

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a new obstacle for navigators (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505777)

Placing a new obstacle in the bay with high maritime traffic is asking for trouble. It may result in something similar to the recent Concordia crash or bus crash in tunnel.

Re:a new obstacle for navigators (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506463)

Normally offshore windturbines are placed in places where the water-depth is not too deep (the companies are working on making floating windturbines, but they are not ready yet), so it would normally not be in the way of maritime traffic. But yes, it is a obstacle if you dont pay attention to where you are going.

Re:a new obstacle for navigators (1)

mike2400 (750020) | more than 2 years ago | (#39508387)

Not really. The Turbine is going up in a very wide part of the bay. The only traffic channel that it will come near to would be the channel to Cape Charles. The main commercial channels are a few miles away from the site. I know that there is a lot of things going into this unit that will ensure that it won't be a impediment to traffic on the bay. If something does hit it then they have gone out of their way and ignored many audible/visual and physical warnings to do so.

Re:a new obstacle for navigators (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39509991)

I am a navigator myself and I am not comfortable with the idea of new obstacles appearing in water. In bad weather it may be an issue.

Besides people do make human errors. In such cases it is good if the environment is at least a bit forgiving.

Pedant: tagline is incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39507039)

Tagline 'sic-semper-ventus' is not correct, 'ventus' should be in accusative case ('venti').

Though my Latin is a bit rusty.

Delaware (2)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39507089)

Delaware is the first state (that I'm aware of) to propose off shore wind farms. Of course between the politicians and the special interests we managed to F#$ck it up. It's really a shame because (since I've lived here 10yrs) certain parts of the state have always had energy delivery problems and this project would have done a lot of good. Hopefully Virginia will have more luck with their offshore wind project.

Irony is unreported (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39507911)

This company has a lot of experience in building coastal wind turbines - good right? Irony is that in their country, now they have discovered that these turbines are not reliable, not worth the cost, and therefore they are stopping construction. Makes all that experience available for us to make the same mistake.

Not the 1st Offshore US Windfarm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39508659)

The ones by Cape Cod were the first. Oops, wait... Ted Kennedy killed those because that was where he yachted.

We already have "offshore" wind turbines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511605)

Guess they've never heard of Chicago.

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