Sunday, October 24, 2010

Energy Biz




Solar can be More Affordable

Bill Opalka | Mar 04, 2011

Local permitting costs for solar installations are costing the average homeowner about $2,500 and most of that could be eliminated by the adoption of a standard set of rules and practices.

That's the result of a study by San Francisco-based solar company SunRun, which reported on how local governments can save $1 billion over the next five years and make solar affordable for 50 percent of American homes. The report, "The Impact of Local Permitting on the Cost of Solar Power," shows that inconsistent local solar permitting and inspection processes add about 50 cents per watt to the costs of installation.

"Every city and town has its own set of regulations and requirements for solar installations. Our research identifies inconsistencies in local permitting as one of the most critical roadblocks to a sustainable, subsidy-free solar industry," said SunRun CEO and Co-founder Ed Fenster. "To tackle this challenge head-on, the DOE can use existing guidelines it has already funded to standardize local permitting and deliver the equivalent of a new $1 billion solar subsidy over five years."

Fenster says that the cost of equipment has dropped more quickly than the industry expected, which makes the areas of permitting and selling and general administrative expenses more obvious.

"One of the things that become apparent is that solar becomes more affordable. One of the things that becomes brutally obvious is the price of equipment is like falling off a cliff but there's not that much more than can be found. What you're left looking at how much more expensive everything is, and this really stands out," he added.

If the costs come down, then close rates rise substantially and selling costs per customer come down, Fenster said.

SunRun works in seven states with 25 installation companies, so the network of installers has all ranges of experiences with permitting challenges, which some described as "our biggest problem."

The solar industry isn't looking for shortcuts, but rather a way to eliminate red tape by adopting practices that are already in place in developed countries.

"It's not like Germany is a dangerous place where houses are catching on fire every day because they haven't figured out how to regulate the safe construction of residential solar," Fenster said.

The savings could be even greater if close rates improve and the cost of sales was to drop.

"We were very conservative in the report and we think the opportunity is even larger than what we put in print. But we wanted to make sure what we put in print was totally bullet-proof," Fenster said.

Bill Opalka is editor of RenewablesBiz Daily

Comments

Solar can be affordable when the Efficiency goes up

- Mar 4, 2011 - 7:06 AM

Apart from regulations to permit solar energy, what is needed is higher efficiency of Solar cells to make it affordable. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), IndiaElectric Vehicles are Here

Will this become a major trend?

Phil Carson | Feb 23, 2011

Travis Johnson grew up in an engineering family and remembers living at the base of Grand Coulee Dam. Later, he lived near Hoover Dam, where his father worked as an electrical engineer. "I thought engineering was pretty cool," Johnson said.

Johnson earned his own electrical engineering degree and has spent two decades in various roles at NV Energy, which is headquartered in Reno, Nevada. NV Energy serves about 1.2 million electricity customers. That's a 55,000-square-mile service territory serving 97 percent of Nevadans and a bit of California.

Two years ago, reading the tea leaves on electric vehicles (EVs), Johnson pressed for and received his current role as manager of electric transportation and emerging technologies. Now, EVs are here and NV Energy is ready. It will offer its residential customers with smart meters a chance to opt in on time-of-use (TOU) rates, with a one-time chance to opt out after 12 months and return to the traditional flat rate. NV refers to this TOU plan as "an experimental program."

TOU rates will become available to residents as NV Energy rolls out smart meters throughout its territory over the next couple of years. The smart meters also enable NV Energy to serve EV owners. Rather than track the location of EV owners, as Southern California Edison is doing, the utility will map its smart meters to the transformer that serves them and monitor load at that level.

"That'll give us a chance to see how heavily loaded these transformers really are," Johnson said. "The beauty of it is that these cars are going to move around town. People move. People sell cars. What you care about is avoiding having your facilities overloaded. So, as long as you have a way to keep an eye on that, you should be in good shape."

Any attempt to forecast EV uptake in NV Energy's service territory?
"That's really tough," Johnson said. "It's a function of what gasoline prices are going to do and where EV battery costs go. We're hearing some incredibly low figures for next year, from pretty good sources. And gas prices could be all over the map. If gas goes to four dollars a gallon, that could dramatically change consumer interest."

Nevada drivers, like their counterparts across the country, are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit for an EV purchase.

IT Changes

So, what internal, IT-related changes must take place to prepare NV Energy for EV adoption?
Johnson serves as co-chair of the Edison Electric Institute's infrastructure work group, which has identified seven or eight issues that must be resolved.

"One of those issues is load management," Johnson said. "With all this load out there, utilities would be remiss if they didn't consider having the ability to communicate with the vehicles or at least with the charging infrastructure. They might need the ability to shake that load loose for short periods of time.

"Another big challenge is multi-family residences and what we're calling `orphan' locations, which aren't necessarily associated with a home," Johnson continued. "They're not going to be easy. You can imagine the load and the metering racks are not in the best position to accommodate charging stations."

Another issue is determining the "right size" of public charging infrastructure.
"We don't want to over-deploy," Johnson noted. "You don't want to spend a lot of money on infrastructure that may not be necessary."

While most charging will be done at home, Johnson echoed conventional wisdom that somewhat ubiquitous charging stations may have the psychological effect of reassuring drivers with "range anxiety" that they won't become stranded if they miscalculate the length of their drive.
"A colleague of mine said, `People want to see charging infrastructure in their community,'" Johnson said. "'But they don't need it.' It's like a pacifier."

What about the costs and benefits of preparing to serve EV owners?
The load factors at electric utilities in the desert Southwest are not very high, he said. Load factor equals your average load divided by your peak load.

"One benefit of EVs is to improve your load factor, if they charge at night," Johnson said. "They're an ideal use of system capacity."

Phil Carson is editor of Intelligent Utility daily.

Comments

EVs race between China and Us

- Feb 23, 2011 - 6:39 AM

Yes. Electric Vehicles are coming in a big way. With China and US racing for expansion, Electric Vehicles will play a major role in providing clean energy and other countries are expected to follow.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP),India

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Coal Ash Debate Ripples throughout Utility World

EPA to Decide Soon on Hazardous Waste Classification

Ken Silverstein | Nov 09, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency has a big choice to make: to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste or to continue to oversee it as a solid waste with some added enforcement. Public comments end this month with a decision expected in December.

While the Obama administration would probably prefer the stricter guidelines, it is unlikely to expend the necessary political capital. With the Republicans now in charge of the House of Representatives, the president's team will extend an olive branch and instead choose to make more incremental changes -- to toughen disposal standards and to let the states maintain their leadership role.

"We are critically concerned that regulating coal combustion byproducts as hazardous waste - an approach opposed by every State (over 20) that has weighed in on the issue - would not only effectively end the beneficial use of these materials, but also would jeopardize the ability of certain of our power plants to remain in service," write the Edison Electric Institute and the American Public Power Association to U.S. senators.

Right now, coal combustion byproducts are categorized as a solid waste. That has allowed those byproducts to participate in a secondary market whereby they can be recycled and used for such things as cement and dry wall. But if the material is reclassified as a hazardous waste, coal groups say it would be irreversibly stigmatized and any ancillary use of them would evaporate.

The investigations into coal ash have been ongoing ever since a retention wall owned and controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority broke and 5.4 million yards then escaped. So, after examining the issue, the current EPA is likely to modify the rules - not overhaul them -- noting that increasing evidence exists to suggest that mercury-and arsenic-laden coal ash adversely affects human health and the environment.

Coal ash is disposed of either as a liquid that goes into large surface impoundments or as a solid that is placed into landfills. TVA, which had used the liquid disposal method at its Kingston Fossil Plant, now says that it will stop impounding "wet ash." Instead, it will convert it to dry ash and bury it in places with liners while also monitoring the ground water - something to which the EPA says would become mandatory for all such sites.

Right now, EPA says that power plants create annually 136 million tons of coal ash. That number, though, is expected to rise to 175 million tons by 2015. Last year, the regulator released a report saying that 49 coal ash sites were considered a "high hazard," meaning that if an accident occurred it could result in deaths. It identified another 71 sites that it says are responsible for the leakage of heavy metals into ground water.

Intense Lobbying

The TVA coal ash spill is the most prominent. But smaller accidents have occurred before. And statistics gathered by environmental groups indicate that unless the situation is brought under federal control, the risks will climb.

"Before the Kingston disaster, coal ash was a sleeping, toxic giant," says Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "This epic event was the catalyst for much needed refocusing on just how dangerous this coal waste is."

If the byproduct would be regulated as a hazardous material, the agency says that would cost industry $1.5 billion a year whereas if it is viewed as a nonhazardous material, it would run $600 million a year. By contrast, TVA is spending at least $1.2 billion to clean up the accident that covers 300 acres -- something that EPA contends might have been prevented if either of its two proposals had been in effect.

Under both approaches, EPA would leave in place an exemption that allows for the beneficial recycling of coal ash -- a huge business that alleviates already stressed landfills and a process that EPA says will keep the public safe. Today, about 54 million tons annually of the material is recycled.

The coal ash industry, however, says that the no mater what, the industry will be tainted. That's unfortunate, it adds, noting that if the material is properly handled, it presents no risk to the public. Moreover, because coal ash is now recycled, it reduces the effects on climate change.

"The stigma of being associated with hazardous wastes is real and is already affecting markets," says Thomas Adams, executive director of the American Coal Ash Association, who spoke at a recent public hearing in Tennessee.

The utility sector says that it has heard the warning shots that have been fired after the collapse of TVA's retention wall. While it is open to having national policymakers close the loopholes in their local rules, companies believe strongly that the states are closer to the issues when it comes to regulating their facilities - sites that they say are up to engineering standards and which are routinely inspected.

After the TVA disaster, conventional wisdom would indicate that it would be easier to more closely regulate the coal ash industry. But such thinking would under-estimate the potency of the utility and coal lobbies. And now, with the Republican surge in Congress, the Obama administration will want to play nicely. Therefore, any sudden move to classify coal combustion byproducts as a hazardous waste is improbable.

Gradual changes, though, are another matter. Industry recognizes that it must take greater precautions to prevent any further coal ash spills - just as TVA has done on its own and in advance of any potential changes in the law. Needless-to-say, the rules will tighten but they won't strangle the secondary recycling markets for coal ash.

EnergyBiz Insider is nominated for Best Online Column by Media Industry News.

So what do you think? Please share your thoughts by posting a quick comment below, or by sending a longer reply to energybizinsider@energycentral.com.

Follow Ken on www.twitter.com/freehand1200

Comments

Yes. Coal Ash is a problem that needs solution

Dr.A.Jagadeesh

- Nov 9, 2010 - 9:16 AM

The coal ash problem in Thermal plants is a big issue. In India there are several environmental groups who want the coal based thermal plants have to be closed. In development especially thermal power sector, one has to take preventive methods like GREEN BELT spread over several hectares of land, strict measures before the issue of the license to start Coal based thermal plants. There are several clearances to be taken before the erection of Coal based thermal plants. As one American cynic once said,” YOU INDIANS ARE BETTER THAN BILL GATES IN CREATING WINDOWS”. In India the tendency is first politicians and public fight to get the Thermal plants (Coal based) and when once they are established agitate for their closure!

In India many Coal based Thermal plants are in operation and under installation.

The Coal based Thermal plants in India (Source: Wikipedia):

The electricity sector in India is predominantly controlled by the Government of India's public sector undertakings (PSUs). Major PSUs involved in the generation of electricity include National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC),Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCI). Besides PSUs, several state-level corporations, such as Maharashtra State Electricity Board(MSEB), Kerala State Electricity Board, (KSEB),in Gujarat (MGVCL, PGVCL, DGVCL, UGVCL four distribution Companies and one controlling body GUVNL, and one generation company GSEC), are also involved in the generation and intra-state distribution of electricity. The Power Grid Corporation of India is responsible for the inter-state transmission of electricity and the development of national grid.

India is world's 6th largest energy consumer, accounting for 3.4% of global energy consumption. Due to India's economic rise, the demand for energy has grown at an average of 3.6% per annum over the past 30 years. In June 2010, the installed power generation capacity of India stood at 162,366 MW while the per capita energy consumption stood at 612 Kwh. The country's annual energy production increased from about 190 billion Kwh in 1986 to more than 680 billion Kwh in 2006. The Indian government has set a modest target to add approximately 78,000 MW of installed generation capacity by 2012 which it is likely to miss. The total demand for electricity in India is expected to cross 950,000 MW by 2030.

About 70% of the electricity consumed in India is generated by thermal power plants, 21% by hydroelectric power plants and 4% by nuclear power plants. More than 50% of India's commercial energy demand is met through the country's vast coal reserves. The country has also invested heavily in recent years on renewable sources of energy such as wind energy. As of 2008, India's installed wind power generation capacity stood at 9,655 MW. Additionally, India has committed massive amount of funds for the construction of various nuclear reactors which would generate at least 30,000 MW. In July 2009, India unveiled a $19 billion plan to produce 20,000 MW of solar power by 2020.

Electricity losses in India during transmission and distribution are extremely high and vary between 30 to 45%.] In 2004-05, electricity demand outstripped supply by 7-11%.[13] Due to shortage of electricity, power cuts are common throughout India and this has adversely effected the country's economic growth. Theft of electricity, common in most parts of urban India, amounts to 1.5% of India's GDP. Despite an ambitious rural electrification program, some 400 million Indians lose electricity access during blackouts. While 80 percent of Indian villages have at least an electricity line, just 52.5% of rural households have access to electricity. In urban areas, the access to electricity is 93.1% in 2008. The overall electrification rate in India is 64.5% while 35.5% of the population still live without access to electricity. According to a sample of 97,882 households in 2002, electricity was the main source of lighting for 53% of rural households compared to 36% in 1993. Multi Commodity Exchange has sought permission to offer electricity future markets

Here is a thorough analysis on Coal ash problem(Source: Wikipedia):

A fossil-fuel power station is a power station that burns fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas or petroleum (oil) to produce electricity. Central station fossil-fuel power plants are designed on a large scale for continuous operation. In many countries, such plants provide most of the electrical energy used.

Fossil fuel power stations (except for MHD generators) have some kind of rotating machinery to convert the heat energy of combustion into mechanical energy, which then operate an electrical generator. The prime mover may be a steam turbine, a gas turbine or, in small isolated plants, a reciprocating internal combustion engine. All plants use the drop between the high pressure and temperature of the steam or combusting fuel and the lower pressure of the atmosphere or condensing vapour in the steam turbine.

Byproducts of power thermal plant operation need to be considered in both the design and operation. Waste heat due to the finite efficiency of the power cycle must be released to the atmosphere, using a cooling tower, or river or lake water as a cooling medium. The flue gas from combustion of the fossil fuels is discharged to the air; this contains carbon dioxide and water vapour, as well as other substances such as nitrogen, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and (in the case of coal-fired plants) fly ash, mercury and traces of other metals. Solid waste ash from coal-fired boilers must also be removed. Some coal ash can be recycled for building materials.

Fossil fueled power stations are major emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) which according to the consensus of scientific organisations are a major contributor to the global warming observed over the last 100 years. Brown coal emits 3 times as much GHG as natural gas, black coal emits twice as much per unit of electric energy. Carbon capture and storage of emissions are not expected to be available on a commercial economically viable basis until 2025.

Environmental impacts

The Mohave Power Station, a 1,580 MW coal power station near Laughlin, Nevada, out of service since 2005 due to environmental restrictions.

The world's power demands are expected to rise 60% by 2030. With the worldwide total of active coal plants over 50,000 and rising, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that fossil fuels will account for 85% of the energy market by 2030.

World organizations and international agencies, like the IEA, are concerned about the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels, and coal in particular. The combustion of coal contributes the most to acid rain and air pollution, and has been connected with global warming. Due to the chemical composition of coal there are difficulties in removing impurities from the solid fuel prior to its combustion. Modern day coal power plants pollute very little due to new technologies in "scrubber" designs that filter the exhaust air in smoke stacks. Nowadays, the only pollution caused from coal-fired power plants comes from the emission of gases—carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide into the air. Acid rain is caused by the emission of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide into the air. These themselves may be only mildly acidic, yet when they react with the atmosphere, they create acidic compounds (such as sulfurous acid, nitric acid and sulfuric acid) that fall as rain, hence the term acid rain. In Europe and the U.S.A., stricter emission laws and decline in heavy industries have reduced the environmental hazards associated with this problem, leading to lower emissions after their peak in 1960s.

European Environment Agency (EEA) gives fuel-dependent emission factors based on actual emissions from power plants in EU.

Carbon dioxide

Electricity generation using carbon based fuels is responsible for a large fraction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions worldwide and for 41% of U.S. man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Of fossil fuels, coal combustion in thermal power stations result in greater amounts of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of electricity generated (2249 lbs/MWh) while oil produces less (1672 lb/(MWh) or 211 kg/GJ) and natural gas produces the least 1135 lb/(MWh) (143 kg/GJ).US EPA Clean Energy—Gas.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (see IPCC) states that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that increased quantities within the atmosphere will "very likely" lead to higher average temperatures on a global scale (global warming); concerns regarding the potential for such warming to change the global climate prompted IPCC recommendations calling for large cuts to CO2 emissions worldwide.

Emissions may be reduced through more efficient and higher combustion temperature and through more efficient production of electricity within the cycle. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) of emissions from coal fired power stations is another alternative but the technology is still being developed and will increase the cost of fossil fuel-based production of electricity. CCS may not be economically viable, unless the price of emitting CO2 to the atmosphere rises.

Particulate matter

Another problem related to coal combustion is the emission of particulates that have a serious impact on public health. Power plants remove particulate from the flue gas with the use of a bag house or electrostatic precipitator. Several newer plants that burn coal use a different process, Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle in which synthesis gas is made out of a reaction between coal and water. The synthesis gas is processed to remove most pollutants and then used initially to power gas turbines. Then the hot exhaust gases from the gas turbines are used to generate steam to power a steam turbine. The pollution levels of such plants are drastically lower than those of "classic" coal power plants.

Particulate matter from coal-fired plants can be harmful and have negative health impacts. Studies have shown that exposure to particulate matter is related to an increase of respiratory and cardiac mortality. Particulate matter can irritate small airways in the lungs, which can lead to increased problems with asthma, chronic bronchitis, airway obstruction, and gas exchange.

There are different types of particulate matter, depending on the chemical composition and size. The dominant form of particulate matter from coal-fired plants is coal fly ash, but secondary sulfate and nitrate also comprise a major portion of the particulate matter from coal-fired plants.[14] Coal fly ash is what remains after the coal has been combusted, so it consists of the incombustible materials that are found in the coal.

The size and chemical composition of these particles affects the impacts on human health. Currently coarse (diameter greater than 2.5 μm) and fine (diameter between 0.1 μm and 2.5 μm) particles are regulated, but ultrafine particles (diameter less than 0.1 μm) are currently unregulated, yet they pose many dangers. Unfortunately much is still unknown as to which kinds of particulate matter pose the most harm, which makes it difficult to come up with adequate legislation for regulating particulate matter.

There are several methods of helping to reduce the particulate matter emissions from coal-fired plants. Roughly 80% of the ash falls into an ash hopper, but the rest of the ash then gets carried into the atmosphere to become coal-fly ash. Methods of reducing these emissions of particulate matter include:

1. a bag house

2. an electrostatic precipitator (ESP)

3. cyclone collector

4.

The bag house has a fine filter that collects the ash particles, electrostatic precipitators use an electric field to trap ash particles on high-voltage plates, and cyclone collectors use centrifugal force to trap particles to the walls.

Water and air contamination by coal ash

A study released in August 2010 that examined state pollution data in the United States by the organizations Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earth justice found that coal ash produced by coal-fired power plants dumped at sites across 21 U.S. states has contaminated ground water with toxic elements. The contaminants including the poisons arsenic and lead.

Arsenic has been shown to cause skin cancer, bladder cancer and lung cancer, and lead damages the nervous system. Coal ash contaminants are also linked to respiratory diseases and other health and developmental problems, and have disrupted local aquatic life. Additional contaminants emitted include boron, which attacks the testes, kidney and brain, and the heavy metal mercury, a neurotoxicant particularly harmful to a child's development, causing nerve damage and impairment of a child's ability to write, read and learn. Coal ash also releases a variety of toxic contaminants into nearby air, posing a health threat to those who breath in fugitive coal dust.

Currently, the EPA does not regulate the disposal of coal ash; regulation is up to the states and the electric power industry has been lobbying to maintain this status quo. Most states require no monitoring of drinking water near coal ash dump sites. The study found an additional 39 contaminated U.S. sites and concluded that the problem of coal ash-caused water contamination is even more extensive in the United States than has been estimated. The study brought to 137 the number of ground water sites across the United States that are contaminated by power plant-produced coal ash.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

Google Kicks up Wind Storm

Off-Shore Wind Project will Require $5 billion from Investors
Ken Silverstein | Oct 20, 2010

Google is kicking up quite a wind storm. It is doing it along with some co-investors that would eventually ante up a total of $5 billion to build a 350 mile under-water transmission off the Atlantic coastline to harness the wind there.
Boosting the country's off-shore wind potential is the central issue here. To that end, this project, which would take place over at least 10 years, would have the potential of delivering 6,000 megawatts of wind energy to residents along the East coast while possibly displacing some of the region's fossil-fuel usage. That would increase the venture's attraction despite being more expensive than on-land generation.
"This new American super grid off the Mid-Atlantic coast will unlock an important untapped resource, creating the foundation for a new industry and jobs for thousands of American workers," says Bob Mitchell, chief executive of Trans-Elect that proposed the idea and which has recruited Google, Good Energies and Japanese trading firm Marubeni as investors. Construction could begin in 2013 and be completed by 2021.
One has to also ask why an internet search engine company would be interested in building a complex under-water transmission system. For starters, this is not Google's first foray into the energy sphere or even the wind power component of it. It's already invested nearly $39 million in two wind farms that will generate 170 megawatts of electricity in North Dakota that are owned by NextEra Energy.
Google is a ravenous consumer of electricity and it must find a way to become more efficient and cleaner. By placing its bets on green energy, it is attempting to understand how it works and to help create economies of scale so that it can be cost-effectively generated. It operates hundreds of thousands of servers that use tons of electricity, which are often derived from coal. As the global leader in internet technologies, the web-based giant says that it can do better.
The basic building blocks are already in place. It has gained the experience constructing and designing large-scale data centers. The same lessons apply when it comes to expanding the use of renewable energy, it says, noting that the primary technologies are now available. They just need investment so that they can size up.
"We're excited about the potential of this project to help the Mid-Atlantic states meet their renewable energy goals by providing a platform that can rapidly accelerate the deployment of clean offshore wind at lower total cost," says Rick Needham, director of green business operations at Google. "Transmission is one of the key constraints to the wider adoption of clean energy, so this project was a natural fit with our corporate goal of investing in attractive renewable energy projects that can have dramatic impact."
Why so Confident?
The announcement comes at the same time as one by the Obama administration to lift the ban on oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The two concepts are not contradictory and, in fact, complement one another; they are part of a comprehensive outline to increase domestic energy production from all off-shore sources.
Earlier in the year, the U.S. Department of Interior gave its approval so that developers could go forth with Cape Wind, which is a wind project to be built off the shores of Nantucket in Massachusetts. That had been a nine-year struggle, although one last set of approvals is still needed from local utility commissioners.
Altogether, the Mid-Atlantic region could provide up to 60,000 megawatts of off-shore wind power, according to the conservation group Oceana. It did a study in which it concluded that investments in off-shore wind power in the Atlantic waters could generate 30 percent more electricity than economically recoverable off-shore oil and gas in the same region. Wind energy, it says, could supply half of the electricity used by residents of the East Coast.
"Our research revealed that harnessing offshore wind power in Atlantic waters is a much more cost-effective way to generate energy than oil and gas drilling," says Jacqueline Savitz, Oceana senior campaign director and analysis co-author. "If we can get more energy for less money, create more jobs and protect our environment from spills, why not choose offshore wind over oil and gas?"
Why are Google and company so confident about the approval process while the Cape Wind project has languished for years? Cape Wind, designed to offset fossil fuel usage in the area, would be located in waters where the politically powerful surround. The proposed super-grid in the Mid-Atlantic, for now, enjoys broad public support from the politicos and its would-be patrons.
That's because the Atlantic has shallow waters relative to most other potential off-shore sites, meaning the wind mills could be located far enough away so as not to be an eye-sore. At the same time, the four on-land connection points are much less hassle than the number that would be required if a 350-mile transmission system was built on land.
Still, the cost of the project is said to be about 50 percent more than if the generation was land-based. The investors, though, are factoring in potential subsidies and tax benefits as well as tougher environmental regulations dealing with carbon emissions. Once built, meanwhile, the transmission system would get federally-regulated rates of return.
"Appropriate development of Outer Continental Shelf wind power will enhance regional and national energy security and create American jobs," says U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Commercializing off-shore wind energy is part of the nation's game plan. But like any fledgling idea, it can and will be nay-sayed. Strategic thinkers like Google, though, understand its possibilities will forge the newfound path.
EnergyBiz Insider is nominated for Best Online Column by Media Industry News.
So what do you think? Please share your thoughts by posting a quick comment below, or by sending a longer reply to energybizinsider@energycentral.com.
Comments
Congratulations Google for the brave venture
- Oct 20, 2010 - 7:56 AM

The news ”Google is kicking up quite a wind storm. It is doing it along with some co-investors that would eventually ante up a total of $5 billion to build a 350 mile under-water transmission off the Atlantic coastline to harness the wind there.” Is quite exciting.
Countries like South Korea, Taiwan, France, China etc., are entering in a big way to harness clean energy through OFFSHORE WIND FARMS.
Already OFFSHORE WINDFARMS are quite popular. Here is the list of OFFSHORE WIND FARMS around the World:
The 25 largest operational offshore wind farms
Thanet 300 United Kingdom 100 × Vestas V90-3MW 2010
Horns Rev II 209 Denmark 91 × Siemens 2.3-93 2009
Rødsand II 207 Denmark 90 × Siemens 2.3-93 2010
Lynn and Inner Dowsing 194 United Kingdom 54 × Siemens 3.6-107 2008
Robin Rigg (Solway Firth) 180 United Kingdom 60 × Vestas V90-3MW 2010
Gunfleet Sands 172 United Kingdom 48 × Siemens 3.6-107 2010
Nysted (Rødsand I) 166 Denmark 72 × Siemens 2.3 2003
Horns Rev I 160 Denmark 80 × Vestas V80-2MW 2002
Princess Amalia 120 Netherlands 60 × Vestas V80-2MW2008
Lillgrund 110 Sweden 48 × Siemens 2.3 2007
Egmond aan Zee 108 Netherlands 36 × Vestas V90-3MW 2006
Donghai Bridge 102 China 34 × Sinovel SL3000/90 2010
Barrow 90 United Kingdom 30 × Vestas V90-3MW 2006
Burbo Bank 90 United Kingdom 25 × Siemens 3.6-107 2007
Kentish Flats 90 United Kingdom 30 × Vestas V90-3MW 2005
Rhyl Flats 90 United Kingdom 25 × Siemens 3.6-107 2009
Alpha Ventus 60 Germany 6 × REpower 5M, 6 × AREVA Wind M5000-5M 2009
North Hoyle 60 United Kingdom 30 × Vestas V80-2MW 2003
Scroby Sands 60 United Kingdom 30 × Vestas V80-2MW 2004
Middelgrunden 40 Denmark 20 × Bonus 2MW 2001
Kemi Ajos I + II 30 Finland 10 × WinWinD 3MW 2008
Thornton Bank I 30 Belgium 6 × REpower 5 MW 2008
Vänern (Gässlingegrund) 30 Sweden 10 × WinWinD WWD-3-100 2010
Arklow Bank 25 Ireland 7 × 3.6 GE 2004
Samsø 23 Denmark 10 × Siemens 2.3 2003
Top 10 under construction
This is a list of the ten largest offshore wind farms currently under construction.
Wind farm Capacity (MW) Country Turbines and model Completion
Greater Gabbard 504 United Kingdom 140 × Siemens 3.6-107 2011
Bard 1 400 Germany 80 × BARD 5.0 2011
Sheringham Shoal 315 United Kingdom 88 × Siemens 3.6-107 2011
Walney Phase 1 183.6 United Kingdom 51 x Siemens 3.6 2011
Bligh Bank (Belwind) 165 Belgium 55 × Vestas V90-3MW 2011
Ormonde 150 United Kingdom 30 × REpower 5M 2013
Tricase 90 Italy 38 × 2.4 MW 2012
Baltic 1 48 Germany 21 × Siemens 2.3-93 2010
Top 10 Proposed windfarms
The following table lists the ten largest offshore wind farms (by nameplate capacity) that are only at a proposal stage, and have achieved at least some of the formal consents required before construction can begin.
Wind Farm Capacity (MW) Country Consents
Dogger Bank 9,000 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 3 Norfolk Bank 7,200 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 3
Irish Sea 4,200 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 3
Hornsea 4,000 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 3
Firth of Forth 3,500 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 3
Bristol Channel 1,500 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 3
Moray Firth 1,300 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 3
Triton Knoll 1,200 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 2
Codling 1,100 Ireland 99-year Foreshore Lease
London Array 1,000 United Kingdom Crown Estate Round 3
(Source: Wikipedia)
The future lies in OFFSHORE Wind Farms as CLEAN ENERGY SOURCE.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

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