Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wind offshore in the east...why not the west?

Recent developments in offshore wind harvesting in eastern states reaching from North Carolina to Maine has inadvertently moved focus towards our west coast which has just as much if not more windpower offshore.
So why is there little interest in western states such as California in obtaining energy from its strong off shore winds? One answer is its topography offshore. Unlike eastern states which have a fairly continuous continental shelf on which turbines can be anchored, the west coast has a sudden shear drop to depths that do not allow turbines to be anchored with today's technology at an economic rate. Another reason is that California has large tracts of land that is recently being developed to obtain wind energy with less expense. With plenty of land to last them economically there is no need at the time to develop offshore wind systems. Power prices as well are cheaper than those in states such as New England and therefore there is little incentive to dump large amounts of money into new technologies as offshore wind when they are already stable. These technologies would have to deal with such things as the tremendous depths that the wind turbines would have to be anchored as well as earthquakes which the area is prone to. Other concerns in developing this technology include the high price for the research and engineering as well as maintenance.

From these reasons I believe it an understandable position of western states to resist the drive toward offshore wind power to some degree. I see it as beneficial however for small divisions of field research to develop basic groundwork. The potential for states such as California to establish this technology to produce electricity will come as a gain as it can produce enough for itself and for other grid systems in the long run. And as in the case of Texas which is proving to be a founder in the innovations of solar and nuclear plants California can also prove to be a key to such technologies as offshore wind technologies and gain world attention.

Citation: Galbraith, Kate. "Prospects Distant for Offshore Wind in West - Green Inc. Blog -" Energy and Green Business - Green Inc. Blog - 09 Oct. 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. .


WattsUp03 said...

It’s interesting to know why offshore wind technology is more appealing on the east cost. The technology needed for offshore wind is still not yet economical, but it is great to see that the technology is being developed! I was interested in this topic and hunted to see if there had been any developments towards the floating wind turbines. And I found that Norway had installed its first floating offshore turbine in September of this year. (Svenvold, Mark) This technology has to be very well engineered. The structure is 200 feet above the water and 300 feet below for ballast. This technology is still under development and will probably take five to ten years before it could be used in either the East of West coast. However, I do agree that it would be good for California to work out the technology and help them meet their high renewable energy goals.

Sources: Svenvold, Mark. "The world's first floating wind turbine goes on line in Norway." Daily Finance 9 Sept. 2009.

diana camcho said...

I agree to disagree with the frame of mind of California, although I do love my home state, I do not see why there is such a tendency for these actions. Constantly it is seen that “as long as it is working now there is no need to change it”, yes I do also understand the rule of “if it is not broken don’t fix it” but what ever happened to improving things for tomorrow? The fact that there will be problems on improving the whole wind energy situation is inevitable, i.e: expenditures, work force, etc. But as the The Archreactor wrote “The potential for states such as California to establish this technology to produce electricity will come as a gain as it can produce enough for itself and for other grid systems in the long run.”Then again I do strongly believe, as reality sinks in, the U.S. is going through a tough economic crises and California being one of the most affected states I doubt that a project of this magnitude is one of the things on California’s to do list. Being that it should ultimately be a future goal to establish such power source since it will pay for itself in the long run.