The Turning Point: Offshore Wind Turbine Farms

Wind energy generation is the fastest growing renewable energy, currently. In United States, the focus is to the grow farms offshore in the Northeast region. This region is more densely populated and the Atlantic Ocean brings stronger/consistent winds than the Midwest. Although we do have some wind turbines on land (about 50,000), Rhode Island has installed the country’s first offshore wind turbine farm off of Block Island in August 2016. Hopefully, this is the first of the many locations they plan to build the turbines. On Block Island, the project is small scale with only five turbines, but can power up to 17,000 homes. The energy flows from the turbines to the island through already existing subsea cables, which was already connected to the mainland. This connection actually allows the island to have more reliable energy source. with such a small size it still provides the island with about 11% percent of energy.

Even though it small, this project is a proof it is possible to have off shore  and that the industry can grow. New York hopes to use the renewable energy and mainly wind turbines to provide the state with %50 of energy by 2030.

After about six months, the Northeast was hit with the storm Stella. During this storm, the winds went above 70 miles per hour. However, with these dangerously high speed winds the turbines performed well, because the blades shutdown when the winds reached above 55 miles per hour and then powered back on after the speeds came back down. This storm was on the first natural test it had to endure and it succeeded without any damage.

With so much of the island’s power coming from the wind turbine, the island was able to shutdown a power plant and the island will not have to rely on fuel being shipped to them. Hopefully these results will be the beginning of United States changing to renewable energy across the country.

Where do you see the future of wind energy going?

 

New York Times Article: America’s First Offshore Wind Farm May Power Up a New Industry

DeepWater Wind Article: Block Island Wind Farm Breezes Through “Stella”

DeepWater Wind Article: Cutting Edge Technology Block Island Wind Farm Helping Scientists Track Bird Bat Activity Offshore

Inside Climate News Article: America’s First Offshore Wind Energy Makes Landfall in Rhode Island

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21 thoughts on “The Turning Point: Offshore Wind Turbine Farms

  1. Thanks for posting this, it was super interesting! Although I do not know much about off shore wind and the down sides, it seems like a great viable renewable energy option that really takes advantage of where there is the most wind. It was neat to hear about how well the wind farm performed in the storm as I’m sure this would be a major concern when considering building an off shore wind farm and designing the turbines.

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  2. I think wind farms will become more and more prevalent in areas that have the wind. Driving around the country there are thousands of wind farms visible from the interstate, and if areas offshore can provide us with the power then its that much better. I imaginet they are much more expensive to place off the coast so this would have to be examined.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this article, I think wind power is a very interesting source of energy. These wind turbines can run 24/7 which allows them to produce a lot of energy similar the way damns do. What makes these much more appealing is that they don’t do nearly as much damage, if any, to the surrounding environment like a damn would. Additionally you can place them off shores, like mentioned in this article, to eliminate it taking up any land that we may want to use in the future. With such an larger amount of shallow ocean we can put these turbines in, I could see this being a huge factor in the renewable energies of the future. Another source I could see being used is tidal power. By harnessing the power and vastness of the ocean we can produce a lot of clean renewable energy.

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  4. I think building wind turbines off shore is particularly great idea because it solves two of the largest barriers preventing wind farms from being more viable. The first is that building off shore utilizes space that probably wouldn’t have been used anyway. Wind turbines are known for being extremely large so this can help save arable land space. Also, the wind speeds are much higher on the coast so I feel like, as long as they are relatively consistent, the efficiency of off shore turbines will be much greater.

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  5. I think wind energy is a great compliment to the baseload power plants we have now and would love to see more farms similar to this popping up. I am not sure how expensive these projects are, but I can definitely see a future for them. Offshore wind farms in particular seem like a great idea to me becuase there are more powerful and consistent winds.

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  6. This was a great read, but like many others the idea of this being feasible for everyone is a little out there in my opinion. I believe that many of the people that live on the islands along the coast would be opposed to the idea of placing these huge wind turbine on the islands because they would take away from the beauty of the land. The beauty of the islands are typically why so many people choice to live there.

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  7. The wind industry is leading the way in renewable energy with these types of projects. I think this project will be a type of gateway drug: once you start, you won’t stop building them. The Northeastern states have all initiated pacts to uphold the Paris Climate Deal and implemented bold RPS’s. I did not know about storm Stella, and the results of the project are even more encouraging! It would be amazing to see some of Georgia, a very renewable energy limited, state implement this off our coast. Think of Savannah powered exclusively by wind turbines. Now, that is a cool thought.

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  8. The future of wind energy relies upon its co-operation with other alternative energies. An often seen rhetoric in alternative energy discussion is A vs B, nuclear vs hydro, etc. In reality, no one alternative energy will be able to surpass and replace fossil fuel, non-renewable energy types. Offshore wind energy just surpassed nuclear energy in cost-effectiveness, $75-100 per megawatt hour for wind vs 135 per megawatt hour for nuclear [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/offshore-win-energy-nuclear-power-plant-cheaper-subsidies-electricity-clean-environment-a7940231.html]. However, this price difference can’t make offshore wind energy “better” than nuclear, hydro or solar; but another cost-effective addition to the alternative energy grid.

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  9. I think that it is very important that we increase our usage of wind energy as much as possible especially offshore wind. The government could help with this by providing subsides to reduce the price of offshore wind energy.

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  10. Great piece Shakera, I really enjoyed reading this. This idea is so innovative. I’m surprised by the amount of energy that RH was able to harvest with their system. I wonder how far in the ocean we can implement these farms in order to take advantage of trade winds.

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  11. Thanks for sharing! I didn’t know that wind turbines shut down when the wind blows too quickly, that’s very interesting. I know that a lot of the objections to wind power are because people find it aesthetically displeasing. I wonder if the ability to place wind turbines offshore could be a viable solution to that issue.

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  12. Offshore wind energy is a good find and share. Another potential energy source is the waves themselves using the wave motion to raise and lower pistons that create energy. The oceans have a lot of untapped potential energy and it will be interesting to find out these sources.

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  13. I really enjoyed this article. I think that states near a cost can definitely utilize offshore turbines and states with adequate wind speeds that are landlocked can take advantage of it. I’m just wondering if there is a way to allow turbines to generate energy from slower wind speeds. If we could redesign them to have a lower minimum speed, a lot of states that don’t have the potential to use wind can get on board as well.

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  14. I think wind turbines are a great alternative power source that can greatly lessen our reliance on other fuel sources. Putting them in the water near population centers is an great idea. I do have one problem with wind turbines. They can be detrimental to bird populations that pass through the area. My concern in this case is that there are a lot of birds that either make their home in coastal ecosystems, or use the area (the north east in particular) for their seasonal migration. I think that a large number of wind turbines could be as large of a problem and the one that they are solving.

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  15. It is exciting to see wind energy taking off in our country and advancing to both on land and offshore locations. Even though there are many positives with these offshore wind farms, there are still negatives with the expansion of this industry when you consider the rare materials that are needed to manufacture these wind turbines. The places in China where these materials are mined have exposed the people there to radiation through the generation of radioactive waste from mining these rare materials. This is clearly a huge environmental and social problem. Do the benefits really outweigh the costs?

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  16. I remember my high school sophomore year, I did a presentation outlining the feasibility of… the Block Island Wind Farm. My team and I actually got in contact with Deepwater for facts and figures and the general game plan. I didn’t really ever check back on this little project, but seeing this post just brought back all the wonder I had when I first learned about the off shore wind prospects. Considering the insane growth that happened in just a few years, I have the highest of hopes for wind energy. In tracking the progress of development, I am excited to see what could happen in just a few more years; I think the projection of wind energy prices just indicates the potential of renewables, provided we just make the investmentand commit to innovate.

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  17. Interesting article. I think this is the best renewable energy source just because it’s not always sunny and damming rivers can have lasting consequences. However, one thing I’ve always wondered is if enough wind turbines in an area will alter the natural weather patterns in the area as it takes energy from storm winds.

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  18. I really do believe that wind energy has a lot of potential to become a strong supplement to a spectrum of renewable energy alternatives. Unfortunately, from everything I’ve read wind power by itself will not be enough to become our primary source of power but it is a good and safe start.

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  19. I’m amazed by the amount of energy that these 5 turbines are able to produce! Wind energy is definitely on the rise and I believe it’s something worth considering for states that have a shoreline, however, it is also a bit of a stretch to ask that every state use this renewable option. It’s definitely an energy source that you either have or you don’t.

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  20. Off shore wind farming is a very interesting idea and something I had not previously heard about, so I thank you for posting about it. As long as the installation of these doesn’t disturb the marine life too much, I think they are a great idea. If the turbines could handle higher speeds and there was a large enough bank, it would be interesting to see if there was a way to “harness the power of a storm.” I also wonder if the people are okay with looking out into the ocean and seeing another mark that man will leave on this planet.

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