In the Publication of the Atomic Scientists, Slashdot reader Dan Drollette describes checking out one of North America’s most significant experiments in renewable resource, off the coast of Rhode Island.
As the only industrial overseas wind farm in The United States and Canada, Block Island is “setting the stage for what might be a quick explosion in the number of commercial offshore windmills on the entire East Coast of the United States, assuming they leap the most current set of ever-changing legal difficulties set by fossil-fuel friendly regulators in Washington, DC.”.
The goal of the Block Island test wind farm– which started building in the summer of 2015 and began creating some power in December 2016– is to see if it is technologically, environmentally, and scientifically possible to transfer overseas wind power innovation from Europe to The United States And Canada … This five-turbine, 30- megawatt undertaking has actually been effectively serving as a multi-year, real-world experiment in overseas wind power for the United States, paving the method for overseas wind farms on the northeast coast and the mid-Atlantic that could each be as much as 600 times the size of this test site, with hundreds of turbines producing electrical energy for hundreds of countless houses from just one major, industrial-sized wind farm. There are more than a lots large offshore “wind lease locations” ideal for wind farms presently up for quote from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, extending from Massachusetts to North Carolina Massachusetts alone is getting agreements for 1,600 megawatts of overseas wind advancement (half have now been sold), which is more than 50 times the size of this pilot project off of Block Island … Once it is built and running, the Massachusetts project off Martha’s Vineyard alone will supply sufficient energy to power a minimum of 230,000 households, or about a 3rd of the state’s property energy need.
Other states are dealing with a similar giant scale. All told, there are 28 overseas wind projects in the deal with the East Coast, with an overall capability of 24 gigawatts, or 24,000 megawatts. To give a sense of the huge size of the generating power of the wind farms now in the works, the very first industrial civilian nuclear reactor in the United States– Massachusetts’ Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Station, now decommissioned– created simply 185 megawatts at its peak But after decades of incorrect starts and twisted lawsuits, a transformation appears to be occurring for overseas wind in the United States, as this country races to catch up with Northern Europe, where this renewable resource source has become significantly mainstream and significantly inexpensive … And these offshore wind tasks could have a huge effect on the environment. The Union of Concerned Researchers estimates that the newly contracted wind farms would offset carbon emissions equivalent to getting rid of about 270,000 vehicles from the roadway. They might play an essential role in minimizing the region’s environment modification footprint, while allowing the New England economy to grow …
As a result, this handful of windmills in one test plot have been closely watched, studied, and debated, from several viewpoints, by several “stakeholders,” as the parlance goes– consisting of Wall Street analysts, investment firms, engineers, financial experts, sociologists, fisheries specialists, ecological activists, historical preservationists, ornithologists, marine mammal biologists, Native American people, scallopers, long-liners, oystermen, sport angler, real estate financiers, the tourism industry, and house owners.
And, obviously, lawyers. Many, lots of lawyers …
The article notes that often windmill power companies “can piggyback on existing facilities, in the form of the high-tension power lines developed for decommissioned nuclear plants or retired coal-fired plants such as the 1,500 megawatt Brayton Point Power Station on the mainland– the last coal-burning plant in Massachusetts, which was closed down in May 2017 …”
After speaking to numerous residents, he concludes that “If there is a common thread to the remarks, it is that the windmills are peaceful and remote, which with a steady and foreseeable source of power, islanders no longer have to worry about blackouts or brownouts … If absolutely nothing else, wind had actually ended up being more reliable than ferrying barrels of diesel fuel to a generator situated on an island 13 miles out to sea.”
If I have actually not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on.
— Hal Abelson