Category Archives: offshore wind

One step closer: First American offshore wind turbines installed

Installation is now complete at the new Block Island wind power facility. On August 8, one member of the team tweeted, “I think it now qualifies as a ‘farm’ -2nd turbine completed last night #BlockIslandWindFarm@DeepwaterWind

From the blog of Greg Alvarez, on the American Wind Energy Association’s website (awea.org) —

American offshore wind power is one step closer to becoming a reality, with installation of the first turbines at Deepwater Wind’s Block Island project now complete.

Construction on the country’s first offshore wind farm began last spring, off the coast of Rhode Island, and the project is expected to be fully operational later this fall.

With an installed capacity of 30 megawatts, the five-turbine Deepwater Wind wind farm will generate enough electricity to supply all of Block Island’s needs, while also sending some to mainland Rhode Island. This will be a clean, affordable and welcome development for Block Island’s residents, who have long had to rely on imported, expensive and polluting diesel fuel for energy.

Read more.

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The Deepwater Wind offshore project is expected to be fully operational later this fall.
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From the Mass. Climate Action Network: the Energy Omnibus Bill is in the House TODAY

[Below are detailed ideas on what to ask for in the bill, and a link to find out who your Mass. elected officials are.]

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Massachusetts has been a national leader on clean energy,  but now are at a crossroads: we are poised to invest billions of dollars to replace retiring power plants and make energy choices that will shape our future.

Comprehensive energy policy is now advancing through the state legislature. Please urge your elected officials to invest in clean energy like wind and solar, and to ban any public financing of fracked gas pipelines!

Will you contact your respresentative and senator today?

When you call, meet with, or email your Representative and Senator, here is what you can say:

“I want to urge you to strengthen clean energy provisions in the House energy bill, H4336 – an Act Relative to Energy Diversity. Please work to pass an energy bill that reduces our reliance on imported gas and harnesses our state’s abundant renewable energy resources like wind and solar. The energy bill should:

  1. Stop the “pipeline tax.” Ratepayers should not foot the bill for new fracked gas pipelines. The cost and risk to consumers and the environment are too great and the legislature has a role to play in protecting the public by banning this practice. Please amend this legislation to head off the DPU’s plan to charge electric ratepayers for gas pipelines.
  2. Be bold with offshore wind: Legislation should establish long-term contracts for at least 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy. The current bill calls for 1200 megawatts – a good start, but increasing this will allow our state to grow wind jobs and capture a cost-saving economy of scale.
  3. Accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard to increase 2% per year: Maryland, California and Hawaii have all set ambitious RPS targets. To meet cuts the scientists say we must make in our climate change causing pollution, we can and should do the same. Please increase the RPS and accelerate the growth of local renewable power and the growth of clean energy jobs.
  4. Restore low-income and community solar: To ensure all communities can access solar power, the legislature should restore compensation for low-income and community solar projects.

Thank you for your support of clean energy, and please urge your colleagues to support these provisions.”

If you don’t know who your elected official is, you can find out here. Once you are ready to call, you can call them directly or you can call the state house switchboard at (617) 722-2000. And once you call, please let me know what your Representative and Senator says. It is super helpful to helping us strategize!
[T]hanks,

Carol Oldham, Executive Director [carololdham@massclimateaction.net]
Massachusetts Climate Action Network
http://www.massclimateaction.net/

carol oldham MCAN

Moulton to host Q&A at ‘Merchants of Doubt’ film

Film focuses on efforts to discredit climate change, other issues

Almost every seat was filled at the National Park Service Visitors Center last night, for a screening of the film, Merchants of Doubt (the story referred to above ran in the Salem News on May 5th). The film showed how the struggle to expose the tobacco industry’s practice of hiring “experts” to discredit the dangers of smoking is happening all over again with climate change. However, that battle took 50 years, and we don’t have the luxury of that many decades this time around, according to James Hansen and other scientists focused on the hard science of what is happening to our atmosphere.

Here is a YouTube clip of the question-and-answer session with Congressman Moulton, filmed by SAFE Advisory Board Member, Stan Franzeen. The Salem News article that ran on the 5th before the screening can be read here.

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Congressman Seth Moulton

Carbon Fee and Dividend In-Depth

From the Citizens Climate Lobby website:

The Basics of Carbon Fee and Dividend:
1. Place a steadily rising fee on fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas).
2. Give all of the revenue from the carbon fee back to households.
3. Use a border adjustment to discourage business relocation.
4. It’s good for the economy AND even better for the climate.

“…phased-in carbon fees on greenhouse gas emissions (1) are the most efficient, transparent, and enforceable mechanism to drive an effective and fair transition to a domestic-energy economy, (2) will stimulate investment in alternative-energy technologies, and (3) give all businesses powerful incentives to increase their energy-efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints in order to remain competitive…”

Read more.

Download Carbon Fee and Dividend, a full-text version of CCL’s Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal.

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1952: Smoke pouring from the New Farm Power House in Brisbane, Australia caused numerous complaints from residents. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Enormous blades could lead to more offshore energy in U.S.

An interesting proposal for huge wind turbine blades…the length of which would be greater than two football fields…could mean 50-megawatt turbines for offshore use. Sandia National Laboratories is researching the extreme-scale blades for the Department of Energy. Most wind turbines presently yield between one and two megawatts, so this would be an enormous jump in power production. This new design could be built in segments, making unnecessary the large equipment needed to transport and put together current wind turbines. During hurricanes, the blades could be stowed and lined up with wind direction, exactly the way a palm tree does.

From Sandia news media contact: Stephanie Holinka (slholin@sandia.gov) —

Sandia National Laboratories’ research on the extreme-scale Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor (SUMR) is funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program. The challenge: Design a low-cost offshore 50-MW turbine requiring a rotor blade more than 650 feet (200 meters) long, two and a half times longer than any existing wind blade…

“Exascale turbines take advantage of economies of scale,” said Todd Griffith, lead blade designer on the project and technical lead for Sandia’s Offshore Wind Energy Program.

Sandia’s previous work on 13-MW systems uses 100-meter blades (328 feet) on which the initial SUMR designs are based. While a 50-MW horizontal wind turbine is well beyond the size of any current design, studies show that load alignment can dramatically reduce peak stresses and fatigue on the rotor blades. This reduces costs and allows construction of blades big enough for a 50-MW system.

Most current U.S. wind turbines produce power in the 1- to 2-MW range, with blades about 165 feet (50 meters) long, while the largest commercially available turbine is rated at 8 MW with blades 262 feet (80 meters) long.

Read more.

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Todd Griffith shows a cross-section of a 50-meter blade, which is part of the pathway to the 200-meter exascale turbines being planned under a DOE ARPA-E-funded program. The huge turbines could be the basis for 50-megawatt offshore wind energy installations in the years ahead. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Everybody aboard the energy omnibus: House preparing comprehensive electricity bill

House officials are creating an “omnibus” energy bill, which may lead to one of the more interesting debates on Beacon Hill in years. House Speaker Robert DeLeo (pictured below) has been discussing this for some time, his approach being that when there are many debated yet related issues, the best thing is consolidate them into one bill and begin negotiating. The advantage is that it may be better to address the state’s energy issues in a way that’s not fragmented up into multiple bills.

From CommonWealth Magazine contributor, Bruce Mohl (January 14, 2016) —

A conference committee consisting of members from the House and Senate was appointed to resolve the different net metering approaches of the two branches, but there has been little progress. Many think net metering and the whole issue of solar incentives may be tossed into the omnibus pot.

One source said it will be interesting to see if the House pushes for special incentives for offshore wind at a time when it is trying to cut incentives for solar. Both renewable energy technologies hold the promise of developing new industries of the future, but both require, at least for now, heavy ratepayer incentives to work financially.

Read more.

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Speaker of the Massachusetts House, Robert A. DeLeo (D Winthrop)
(from his official webpage)

Maine offshore wind project still faces money hurdles, despite federal grant

Maine recently received $3.7 million to develop a floating, deep-water wind farm, but needs much more than that to get the project going. Their goal is to win the full $47 million grant from the DOE, which would attract enough private investors to finance the $100 million project. [This article is from November, 2015; if anyone has an update on the status of the grant for Maine, it would be greatly appreciated if they could pass that information along].

From Portland Press Herald contributor, Tux Turkel:

“Clearly, some good news came out today,” said Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association. “But we don’t know yet how good the news is.”

Payne and others were reacting Monday to word from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King that the Department of Energy is committing additional money to the Maine Aqua Ventus project.

Led by a University of Maine partnership, Maine Aqua Ventus had been competing with demonstration projects in other states for a $47 million grant, but was passed over last year in favor of ventures in New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon. Instead, Maine got $3 million to continue engineering and design work.

Read more (the Portland Press Herald may require a subscription if 10 articles have already been read).

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The prototype Volturn US generates power off the coast of Castine. The prototype is a one-eighth-scale model of the floating turbines to be used in a full-scale pilot wind farm planned for deep water off Monhegan Island. 2013 Associated Press File Photo/Robert F. Bukaty