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What does Cape Wind approval mean?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by midwestcoast, May 4, 2010.

  1. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Now that the Interior Department has issued approval for Cape Wind, what do you all think it means for offshore wind in the US?
    The way I see it companies will still be hesitant to move ahead with projects since the approval process took 10 years, but it sets a precident & should mean permitting becomes easier for subsequent projects. from a Grist.org article today
    "This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast which I expect will come online in the years ahead as we build a new energy future for our country," (Int Secretary) Salazar said at a press conference in Boston on Wednesday.
    There are currently proposals to build nearly 2,500 megawatts' worth of offshore wind farms from Massachusetts to North Carolina, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Other developers want to put wind farms off the Texas coast and in the Great Lakes.


    The article also says that 10MW turbines are in development that could drasticly reduce cost for construction of off-shore farms (75-90% fewer turbines for same power). That could get really interesting.

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  2. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    One possible outcome is the return of electric heating. A firm in Maine with strong connections to wind farms is trying to set up off peak electric heat storage for residential use. They would set up contracts with off peak renewable power sources to charge up thermal storage boxes in their customers homes during the night. The boxes would heat the house during the day until the next night where they would recharge. By getting creative, they could switch the recharge times of the units to free up capacity when there was short term increase in demand which would effectively create the equivalent of spinning reserve for the grid.
  3. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    It means the last of the Kennedy's finally died
  4. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

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    It means they are sticking more "safe" stuff out in the ocean.
    Just like the oil rigs. All the studies showed how safe they would be.
    How'd that work out? Just ask the Gulf fisherman.
  5. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    True, there could be a huge wind spill. :ahhh:
  6. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    The off shore turbines are pricey to buy and maintain so not sure they will have an effect on much of any thing other than less dependence of oil which by itself means our continued exsistence.
  7. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    It means that people are finally waking up and putting power generation near where power is used instead of hundreds or thousands of miles away and paying $1 billion/100 miles/1000 MW for transmission line capacity for generation from faraway places.
  8. gibson

    gibson New Member

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    It will be a good test market, if you will, to see if the turbines can hold up to the elements, given the salt and all. The fact that the Kennedy's will have to navigate their sailboats around them, makes me happy!
  9. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Is this your own idea or something you read somewhere?

    Cape Cod already has the highest electric rates in the country. Under Cape Wind they are expected to triple.
  10. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Green power aint cheap.
  11. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    In the paper this morning, Cape Wind signed a deal with National Grid for 20.7 cent/kilowatt generation cost. With transmission charges, taxes, fees etc. could be $.80/kilowatt. Here the generation charge is 24% of the final bill.
  12. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Ouch, pretty high cost down there Dune.
    Does your utility offer any peak/off peak rates? (Have national grid here, and we don'y have any off peak programs yet)
  13. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    My offpeak rate is the co-gen system I am installing. The electric rates here kill me, since I have two teenagers. $200 is an average bill. Good thing they can't eat electricity.
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Something does not smell right about these high costs - notice that the wind turbine in Portsmouth RI - which does not enjoy the economies of scale that a big wind farm does, is generating electricity for competitive rates.
    http://www.portsmouthriedc.com/windfacts.html

    The wind is better off the cape than in RI, but offshore costs a bit more to build.

    Short story of the math - the wind turbine produced 3.3 million KWH in the last year.
    If we assign a mid-range retail price to that electric (this turbine belongs to the town - no profit involved) of 15 cents per KWH, that means it made about 500K worth of electric.

    It cost a little over 3 million, so the payback is quite evident......almost any way you look at it.

    I think maybe the problem with these high projected prices is that investors and corporations want to be paid back the big bucks on their capital. It might be that the future beckons for communities and other groups to put these up in a more non-profit fashion.....too many middlemen in this one!

    Still, these represent good testing of technology and the prices do go down as more turbines are made and more experience gained.
  15. mgwmgw

    mgwmgw New Member

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    The cost of building these things in the ocean is crazy compared to building them on land. Underwater transmission cables, waterfront right of way costs, etc.
    Sent from Gooseriders house.
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Looks like about 50% higher for offshore:
    http://www.wind-energy-the-facts.or...f-wind-power/chapter-2-offshore-developments/

    However, much of that cost can be made up by better wind speeds which exist there.

    On the east coast we have little choice - we have to make it work, whether by use of the larger turbines or by economy of scale. We simply do not have wind resources over the land here, and also the cost of land would be high to build a wind farm of good scale.

    Here is the Ma. Wind Chart:
    [​IMG]

    Here is a rough breakdown of the economics.....

    Let's say you put a 1 million dollar installation on the land where the average wind speed was 15 mph (cape cod).

    Since the power of the wind is judged by the square of the wind speed, we will say that turbine has 15x15 or 225 power units.

    Now, take the same turbine offshore in the Red area - say it costs 1.5 million now, because of higher offshore costs.
    But the average wind speed is approx. 20mph, which means 20x20 = 400 power units.

    As you can see, in the example given the offshore units are cheaper, or at least as cheap when everything is considered it.
    Rhode Island is also marginal on land, yet the land turbine is paying for itself.
    [​IMG]

    Maybe we just need to do a giant government financed Manhattan Project-type development off the Vineyard in that Red Area!
  17. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Careful, the usual bunch will start crying socialism if you keep up that kind of talk.
  18. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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  19. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

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    Maine wants to be the Saudi Arabia of Wind Power. There are 2 huge projects going right now, I don't believe either one is producing what they thought. The University of Maine got millions in grant money to study offshore wind power and is building a prototype to stick out in the gulf of Maine. The project, if it goes thru, would be massive and would supply Maines needs easily except the wind doesn't always blow. So what do you do for back up?or do you go through phases of blackout like a 3rd world nation? A long time ago this type of thing was proposed. Mainers should know about the Dickey Lincoln Project. I believe they were going to use a dam up in the county to fill in for a proposed tidal generating facility. When the tides were high or low they were going to backup with a large Hydro facility in northern Maine. It makes great sense therefore it never got permitted :lol: There was some endangered species that held the whole thing.
  20. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    I have to take exception to the math here. While the "generation" cost will be more than that from other sources, the transmission charges, taxes, fees, etc. will not be.

    Furthermore, I saw someone else claim that people on Cape Cod will pay triple the electric rates. This is also not how this works. National Grid will blend the cost throughout their network in MA. Everyone served by National Grid in MA will pay an equal amount if, in fact, this power costs more than what they will pay from other sources. It will not fall all on the rate payers on Cape Cod.

    One of the key advantages of offshore wind is that the wind offshore is usually at its peak in the afternoon in the summer - when electric demand is at its highest. Summer peak generation costs are far higher than the baseline or off-peak costs, so it is quite likely that offshore wind power is nearly cost competitive with other sources of summer peak demand costs. In addition, in this case, the generation is near where the demand is, so it is not transmission line constrained and easily distributed to where it is needed (greater Boston area).
  21. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

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    If all of the local municipalities would allow small scale wind turbines in your back yard along the windy coast you could buy or build your own wind mill to provide your own power. Next thing you know the government will tax the wind you use so it will be cheaper to burn oil again.
  22. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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  23. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    Dont forget Horse head he lives in Mass. but stores his yacht in RI to beat Mass. high tax!
  24. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Don't you mean Long face? Are you for real?
  25. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    R.I. has at least one if not several offshore wind generating sites that are proceeding despite whatever woes Cape Wind runs into.
    Deepwater is one of them.

    Cape Wind and Northern Grid's estimates on financial impacts have been all over the wall. It's like they have no clue or just afraid of what the public will find fault with next. One estimate is $20 a year, another is $20 a month.
    Nuclear Power was supposed to be dirt cheap. We've all heard the lies here in Ma. before.

    Like it or not, these are the alternatives we are going to have to employ. There's only so much oil and gas.

    There should be wind farms on the Elizabeth Islands (eminant domain, screw you Forbes and friends) ) and along the western shore of Sconticut Neck.

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