Monday, January 3, 2011

Rhode Island Offshore Wind Turbines Doubled

As continues to be obvious, the battle to win the economic battle for wind energy was won a long time ago and unlimited financing is fueling what is a massive global build out.

Subsidies do end eventually and we have paid for power generation costing almost nothing that can and will take any price.  It is one of perhaps three legs in the grid energy system, but this part is been build today.

Wind, solar and geothermal is hugely plentiful and all can be price takers because they are all fuel free.  Until we have fusion energy available, this triumvirate will steadily displace all other sources of grid energy except the occasional hydro plant already in place.

The advent of schooling the turbines will also reduce land coverage by an order of magnitude.  That will still make the facility next door painful, but it eliminate the demand for usable land to the extent that a ten fold increase could likely be done on installed capacity.

Proposed Rhode Island Offshore Wind Farm Jumps To 1,000 MW

by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY  on 12. 9.10
Science & Technology (alternative energy)

photo: Deepwater Wind

Rhode Island's first offshore wind farm, and depending on construction speed perhaps the first in the United States, has more than doubled in proposed size. According to Deepwater Wind has said the increased size will allow it deliver electricity at a lower price--even though the project cost has now jumped to $6 billion.

The new specs for the project: 200 turbines, at least 18 miles off the Rhode Island coast; 1,000 Megawatts (previously it was 350 MW), with an undersea transmission network stretching from Massachusetts to New York. The transmission network alone adds between $500 million and $1 billion to the price tag.

At that size the Deepwater Wind Energy Center becomes one of the largest offshore wind projects under development anywhere in the world.

No doubt some of the reason why Deepwater increased the size of the project: Under the previous plan, electricity from the project was going to be sold to National Grid for 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour. If you haven't checked your electric bill for the exact rate you're paying, that's really high for the mainland United States. Nearby, Cape Wind signed a power purchase agreement with National Grid for 18.7 cents/kWh--still above average for the US, but only barely for the region. Under the new larger proposal, Deepwater says it expects to be able to deliver electricity in the "mid-teens" per kilowatt-hour.

Whatever form it takes, if the US wants to even be in the offshore wind power race, more projects like these need to get underway as both Europe and China continue well in the lead.

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