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?