Cape Wind

Offshore Wind is Making Big Waves

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — When it comes to renewable energy, there’s a new kid on the block and he’s making lots of new friends quickly. We’re talking of course, about offshore wind. While once resisted as too expensive and too unsightly, the technology has finally found its sea legs and is now really making a splash.

Europe is, of course, where most of the activity has been. It started with Vindeby, the world’s first offshore wind farm, off the Danish coast. Vindeby, which was commissioned in 1991, has eleven turbines, with a combined capacity of 4.95 MW.

That’s significantly less than the output of just one of the thirty-two 8 MW turbines that Danish-based Dong Energy is installing at the Burbo Bank Extension  wind farm off the English west coast near Liverpool. Dong, which also operates Vindeby, currently has 3,000 MW of offshore wind online, and plans to grow that to 6,500 MW by 2020. Their 21 existing facilities are located off the coasts of Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. Dong, which both builds and operates these wind farms, is one of a growing number of players in this market.

Better known perhaps, are the turbine manufacturers. Vestas, the Danish turbine maker, has now formed a joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, to compete with Siemens, the longstanding frontrunner. General Electric is now getting into the game as well, along with a number of Chinese manufacturers.

Here are some reasons why offshore wind makes sense. First, it overcomes most of the not-in-my-back-yard (NIMBY) concerns about visual pollution and noise, though there has been resistance from certain upscale seaside communities, notably the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, and Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to block a wind farm off the coast of Scotland, near a golf course he owns. (Trump lost, Cape Wind is apparently “dead in the water.”)

Construction Begins on America’s First Offshore Wind Farm

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Rhode Island, the smallest state in the US, is only 48 miles long. However, it has 400 miles of coastline, which has been essential to its economy. As the nation searches for new, clean sources of energy, and while neighboring Massachusetts, has seen its Cape Wind offshore wind project mired in legal battles, the tiny Ocean State is quietly moving forward with a project of its own.

On July 26th, work began on the foundation structures for a small offshore wind farm off Block Island, which will likely be America’s first offshore wind farm to be completed. With a capacity of only 30 MW, it is tiny compared to the 8,759 MW of offshore wind currently installed around the world. Most of that is in Northern Europe. But then, that is tiny compared with the 369,597 MW of the total global wind production as of the end of 2014, more than 50,000 of which was just added last year. It’s also worth noting that nearly half of that new capacity went up in China.

The global offshore wind potential is enough to meet the entire current US electricity demand four times over. Unfortunately, right here in the US, the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) was allowed to expire last year, which has taken some of the wind out of the growing industry’s sails. A total of 1,994 MW was installed in the first half of this year, which is better than last year, but well below the pace set in 2012. Extension of the PTC, which has driven some $100 billion in private investment, was approved by the Senate Finance Committee in July, but still awaits the approval of the full Congress.

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(From left to right) Richard Sullivan, Secretary, Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Mass. Governor Deval L.

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