A STRONGER WIND - THE GREAT LAKES OFFSHORE
What a coincidence!
Less than a month after Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm pushed a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) through the state legislature requiring the state’s utilities to obtain 10% of their power from New Energy sources by 2015, a report comes out that the state can get 10 times more electricity from Great Lakes offshore wind than the state currently produces from all sources.
This has GOT to be PROOF there are ANGELS watching over Governor Granholm…
OK, seriously. Developers were already looking at Michigan’s offshore wind resources (see OFFSHORE WIND – GREAT FOR THE GREAT LAKES?) and the report was in the works in anticipation of passage of the RES.
Great Lakes offshore wind is a tremendous untapped resource from western New York state to eastern Minnesota. Unlike Michigan, many of the states with Great Lakes coasts have already begun tapping their ONshore resources. But the bottom line on OFFshore wind: You ain’t seen NOTHIN’ yet!
As the European countries that have built offshore installations in the North Sea have discovered, wind over water is stronger and more constant. The most recent European Wind Energy Technology Platform report predicts Europe will be getting a significant portion of its power from offshore wind by mid-century. But offshore is a much tougher environment.
The Great Lakes offshore offers at least a couple of advantages over ocean environments. For one thing, there' no salt. That means less corrosion and longer turbine life. Another advantage: Maritime laws prohibit development in international ocean waters beyond 18 miles but states on the Great Lakes have no such restrictions.
Michigan is in perhaps the strongest position of any state in the region to exploit offshore wind because it is surrounded by Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie). With water on its several sides, it has access to about 40% of the Lakes’ surface area and rights to much of the lakes' bottomlands, where the towers will be planted.
click to enlarge
Great Lakes show great promise for wind energy, researchers find
Tina Lam, October 1, 2008 (Detroit Free Press)
Land Policy Institute of Michigan State University (MSU); Soji Adelaja, Director, Land Policy and Institute; Charles McKeown, Manager/Land Use Informatics, Hannah Professor Research Program; AWS Truewind
The Institute’s Michigan’s Offshore Wind Potential report finds even greater wind energy potential in the regions studied than was previously thought.
click to enlarge
- An earlier estimate of Michigan’s wind capacity put it 14th in the U.S. with 16,000 megawsatts onshore.
- This report used new AWS Truewind 2008 data for offshore potential.
- The Michigan-adjacent offshore regions of the Great Lakes.
- With coasts on Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie, 40% of the Great Lakes’ surface area is under Michigan jurisdiction and the state controls much of the bottomlands, where the turbines would stand.
- The state’s first commercial onshore wind farm (32 turbines) is in the Thumb between Pigeon and Elkton. Another nearby is under construction.
- The study used depth (bathymetry), wind resource and shoreline restriction info.
- Total, best case potential: 321,936 megawatts, using 100,000+ Siemens STW 3.6 Wind Turbines.
- Best case means turbines would be erected at any depth, without regard to shipping lanes or aesthetic concerns.
- The capacity is 10+ times the total electricity now generated at peak, all sources (including coal and nuclear), in Michigan.
- To a depth of 30 m w/o restrictions = 55,250 megawatts (47,360 megawatts if horeline distance is 1 km , 22,247 megawatts if shoreline distance is 5 km, 9,481 Mw if shoreline distance is 10 km, 926 megawatts if shoreline distance is15 km)
- To a depth of 60 m w/o restrictions = 102,592 megawatts (94,274 megawatts if shoreline distance is 1 km, 62,205 megawatts if shoreline distance is 5 km, 36,337 megawatts if shoreline distance is 10 km, 9,602 megawatts if shoreline distance is 15 km)
- For comparison: the biggest single wind installation in the US is 4,000 megawatts planned for Texas.
- More data is needed.
click to enlarge
- Dr Soji Adelaja, director, Land Policy Institute: "This result has the potential to elevate Michigan's wind energy profile nationally and internationally because the resource available is significant…Michigan is one of few states with the opportunity to generate wind power from its offshore areas.”
- From the report: “These projections do not account for potential areas of concern such as shipping lanes, sensitive aquatic habitat, historic sites (such as shipwrecks and others), recreational fishing needs, commercial fishing needs, transportation corridors, migratory bird routes, and potential areas subject to tribal and other treaty concerns, and other natural resource management concerns.”