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.
The Deepwater Wind offshore project is expected to be fully operational later this fall.
[Below are detailed ideas on what to ask for in the bill, and a link to find out who your Mass. elected officials are.]
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Carol Oldham, Executive Director [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Massachusetts Climate Action Network
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.
Congressman Seth Moulton
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 (email@example.com) —
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.
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)
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).
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
The survival of many species has been challenged by climate change. It’s really good news to hear that the National Wildlife Foundation is not only advocating for all the species gone (and all those that still may yet be lost), but also for renewable energy power sources as a possible solution for global warming/species extinction. A replacement by renewable energy sources of fossil fuels could completely change the mix that is destroying our planet.
From National Wildlife Foundation contributor, Amber Hewitt:
On Thursday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will give his State of the Commonwealth address. He’ll reflect on the successes and challenges of 2015 and lay out his vision for the year ahead. Given the highly anticipated energy debate unfolding on Beacon Hill, we’ll be listening extra closely to his words on the Commonwealth’s energy challenges. There is no shortage of debate surrounding which energy sources should power our economy into the future. Gov. Baker’s words will underscore where his Administration stands in the critical energy conversation underway.
From Solar Thermal Magazine:
SunEdison, Inc., recently announced that it signed an agreement to supply battery storage to the province of Ontario. This is to insure everyone in the province gets the electricity they need as it’s needed, and to smooth the power flow from wind and solar. This will eventually result in major improvements in how its grid functions:
“By integrating energy storage into their grid, the Ontario IESO gains access to a powerful new tool that has the potential to transform how it operates the power system,” said Tim Derrick, SunEdison’s general manager of Advanced Solutions. “Batteries can be used to reduce grid congestion, smooth out power flow from solar and wind sources, and may help the IESO defer or avoid expensive upgrades to the grid.”
Thanks to Ron Martino on the facebook page, Essex Coastal Wind Forum, for bringing our attention to this story by Lulu Chang on December 29 for Yahoo News. 2015 was a good year for wind power in the U.S. About five percent of our total electricity generated comes from wind power at this point in time. The recent decision by Congress to extend the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit has turned the tables, making it good business to invest in wind.
Turbines at Maranchon Wind Farm in Spain’s Guadalajara province (AFP Photo/Curto de la Torre)
“This American wind power success story just gets better. There’s now enough wind power installed to meet the equivalent of total electricity demand in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Wind energy is the biggest, fastest, and cheapest way we can cut carbon pollution here in the U.S., and as wind power grows, so will savings for American families and businesses all across the country.”
It’s good to finally start hearing some good news about the climate. The big question, of course, is if we can make enough of a difference in time to prevent catastrophic climate change. Note that a few of these charts do not bear good news.
Think Progress contributor Joe Romm, on
My candidate for the top solutions chart of the year comes from a November DOE report, “Revolution…Now The Future Arrives for Five Clean Energy Technologies.” It shows the stunning progress core clean energy technologies have made in the last several years as accelerated deployment created economies of scale and brought technologies rapidly down the learning curve.
See the rest of the charts.