NewEnergyNews: OFFSHORE WIND - GREAT FOR THE GREAT LAKES?

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  • MONDAY’S STUDY AT NewEnergyNews, August 10:
  • The World’s New Energy Right Now

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    OFFSHORE WIND - GREAT FOR THE GREAT LAKES?

    Offshore wind installations are a reality in Europe and will sooner or later be a reality in the U.S. The Great Lakes region has really wonderful energy resources and somebody is going to get really rich by taking on the challenges and winning through.

    The challenges, though, are daunting. Other U.S. offshore projects have been stymied by environmental resistance, aesthetic objections, enormously costly technical obstacles and the building of undersea transmission. Many of the same challenges are beginning to stop Wisconsin onshore wind installations.

    Considering the opposition and the difficulty, it might be hard to understand why wind developers persist - until the thought of global climate change makes the difficulty of building wind seem worth the effort.

    Sooner or later aesthetic objections to wind installations will succumb to the much more ominous objections of global climate change and the ugly devastations of coal mining.

    Sooner or later the environmental impact of wind installations will be understood as trivial in comparison to that of global climate change and the horrors of a potential nuclear accident.

    Sooner or later the readiness of wind installations will emerge as superior to the dangers and difficulties of building LNG terminals.

    Sooner or later the offshore wind technology being proven right now in Europe will be put to work in the U.S. while scientists continue to try to figure out how to make “clean” coal something more than an oxymoron, while scientists are still trying to get up to speed on the hydrogen highway, while politicians continue to fight about nuclear waste storage.

    Sooner or later. Most likely sooner.


    A wind map of Michigan shows great wind assets on the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior. (click to enlarge)

    State: 3 developers interested in offshore wind farms on Lake Michigan
    April 24, 2008 (AP via Minneapolis Star Tribune)
    and
    Wind farms proposed on water; 3 separate groups want to put turbines in Lake Michigan
    Thomas Content, April 23, 2008 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

    WHO
    Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) (Steve Ugoretz, lead wind energy analyst); Wisconsin Public Service Commission (Dan Ebert, chairman); Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands;

    Wisconsin has good onshore wind assets but citizens are still squabbling over them. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Three offshore wind projects are under consideration for Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan and Lake Superior coasts but not making rapid progress.

    WHEN
    All projects in preliminary stages with funding unclear.

    Lake Ontario has great wind assets... (click to enlarge)

    WHERE
    - Development of offshore wind installations is being proposed for Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.
    - Onshore wind is a booming business in Wisconsin, across the U.S. and around the world.
    - Germany, Ireland and Denmark have offshore installations and many more are planned or under construction in Europe.
    - U.S. projects off Cape Cod, Long Island and Galveston, Texas, are mired in controversy.

    WHY
    - Cost estimated to be millions of dollars and projects must win citizen approval.
    - Radial Wind has been stopped for lack of technology to deal with the Mid-Lake Plateau’s 200-foot depths Illinois energy engineer and real estate developer William Goldstein proposes to build in.
    - Wisconsin’s DNR is considering Ewindfarm Inc. of California’s proposed 610 turbine project 1 to 2 miles off a stretch between Kewaunee and Kenosha.
    - An unidentified developer has proposed a ~200 turbine installation off the east-central Wisconsin coastline.

    ...as does Lake Erie. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Dan Ebert, chairman, Wisconsin Public Service Commission: "We need to look at what are the economics of that, how feasible is it, what are the environmental issues that are involved. To understand those issues and examine it as an option is something we clearly should do…"

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