Offshore Wind Begins US Take-Off

July 29, 2015

offshorewindNow that offshore wind has a foothold in the US, it will begin the same price drop that has made solar power a game changer in so much of the country.

What a lot of renewable bashers did not get 7 or 8 years ago is that, solar did not have to be the least-cost producer to get started – it just had to outcompete the most expensive conventional power out there, – which is peak power from diesel generators and gas peaker plants – some of the most expensive imaginable sources. (sort of like that old joke about out-running the bear)
Once solar cracked the peak market (which occurs conveniently during the sunniest part of the day), the logic of markets and mass production took over, and the price slide went into overdrive.

Now the same phenomenon will take hold with offshore wind – which already employs 60,000 people in Europe.

MSN Money:

High winds and expensive electricity make Block Island a good site for the first U.S. offshore wind farm. For the same reason, Long Island may be next.

Deepwater Wind LLC last week began towing the first of five massive steel frameworks to a site off Rhode Island’s Atlantic coast. When complete next year, the 30-megawatt wind farm will sell power for 24.4 cents a kilowatt-hour.

While that is almost tripe the 8.5 cent levelized cost for wind turbines installed on land, the project is expected to lower electricity rates by 40 percent for residentso f Bloc Island, a popular vacation destination that’s powered primarily with imported diesel fuel.

“You’ve got a unique situation with Block Island,” said Jim Bennett, renewable energy program manager wt the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the U.S Energy Department charged with leasing sites for offshore wind farms.

Wind turbines on land produce some of the cheapest energy available. Installing them at sea is more difficult and much more costly. That’s hindered the emergence of U.S. offshore wiind power.

The ‘extremely high’ electricity rates on Block Island will help absorb much of the project’s 250 million dollar cost, said Jesse Broehl, a senior research analyst at Navigant Research in Boulder, Colorado.

The econoics work because of “high energy demand and high-priced electricity coincident with strong offshore wind resources along the eastern seaboard,” Broehl said.

Harford Courant:

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Construction has begun off Rhode Island’s coast on the nation’s first offshore wind farm, a milestone that federal and state officials say will help the fledgling U.S. industry surge ahead.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said Monday that lenders, regulators and stakeholders can now see a path forward.

“It’s great to witness a pioneering moment in U.S. history,” she said during a boat tour of the site. “We are learning from this in what we do elsewhere. I think it will help the country understand the potential that exists here.”

Deepwater Wind is building a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island, which it expects to power 17,000 homes as early as next year. It began attaching the first of the steel foundations to the ocean floor Sunday. The first one touching the seabed is known in the industry as the “first steel in the water

WindPower Engineering:

The potential for offshore wind power generation in the U.S. is staggering. At a projected 4,223 gigawatts (GW) of electric generating potential (with the Ohio waters of Lake Erie alone accounting for more than 50 GW of that power), offshore wind offers a viable, untapped opportunity for large-scale clean energy projects that produce zero emissions in operation, consume no water, and displace the generation from some of our nation’s dirtiest power plants.

58 Responses to “Offshore Wind Begins US Take-Off”

  1. Sara Ali Says:

    If I remember correctly, I was on Block Island a number of years ago and they did have a wind turbine generator. offshore webhosting support

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