Library filed under Technology from Massachusetts
Time and technology have caught up with Cape Wind. Its advantage of six years ago as a novel proposal is now flattened by the advance of deeper-water wind technology (as well as promised advances in wave and tidal energy generation). By the time Cape Wind could be up and running - by 2011 or 2012 at the earliest - commercial-scale deeper-water projects will be a reality. No matter how you spin it, deeper-water locations are a better alternative to Cape Wind. The winds are stronger, the potential is greater and the risks are significantly lower.
BOSTON - Massachusetts will be one of two states building a state-of-the-art facility to test turbines used in wind power. The facility will place the state at the forefront of wind power and alternative energy, said U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, who outlined the facility with Gov. Deval L. Patrick at a press conference yesterday. "This will make Massachusetts a global center for clean energy technology," Patrick said. "This is a big step for us."
There won’t be a 450-foot-tall windmill spinning over Charlestown after all — but there could be a new 300-foot long, four-story building on a neighborhood wharf for testing wind turbine blades. Based on reports from top state and city officials, the Globe reported yesterday that Governor Mitt Romney’s administration was looking at a Massachusetts Port Authority pier for a potential US Energy Department wind turbine testing facility, including a tower for turbines with blades spinning up to 450 feet above the ground. In fact, the project would only involve a building 300 feet long and 50 feet high where turbine blades up to 230 feet long would be turned on their sides and subjected to engineering and strength tests.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has raised a cautionary flag about a tidal hydroelectric power project proposed for Vineyard Sound. "The tidal energy project proposed under this application represents novel technology with the potential for significant adverse effects to all marine resources that utilize Vineyard Sound for spawning, rearing and migration, including finfish and marine mammals," wrote Mary A. Colligan, assistant regional administrator for protected resources, in a July 18 letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Can the United States, the first nation to put a man on the moon, develop deepwater wind turbines capable of harnessing the ocean’s vast wind resources? The answer is "yes." Unfortunately, it’s not the right question, because the real puzzler is whether deepwater technology can be made cost-effective. If it can - and experts believe the answer to that question may be at least a decade away - deepwater wind farms could offer a real alternative to fossil fuels or nuclear energy.
``The problem we're having with all these wind farms is . . . they're proposing to put them in all the worst places," said Thomas W. French , assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. ``If they could do what the Russell Biomass plant did, which is to find a preexisting, historical industrial district, we'd be applauding them." As part of the ongoing state permitting process for the plant, French's division worked with its developers to reroute proposed power lines to reduce their impact on wildlife.
Environmentalists think electricity generated from the Atlantic Ocean could be the wave of the future for Massachusetts. “There’s a lot of energy out there,” said Chris Powicki, president of the Cape and Islands Renewable Energy Collaborative. “The tide is always going in or out, while wave energy is continuous once you’re offshore.”
...coal power plants provide over a quarter of our energy in Massachusetts (and over half of our energy nationwide). So while researching alternative energy sources is important, cleaning up our existing plants will have a much bigger and more immediate effect on the environment.
It could soon get crowded in waters off Cape Cod. With two large wind farms proposed for Nantucket Sound and Buzzards Bay, a third developer is staking a claim on Vineyard Sound to test the site for a tidal energy project.
With little fanfare, an off-Island development company has filed plans to build an underwater tidal energy farm in Vineyard Sound. Representatives of Massachusetts Tidal Energy Company (MATidal), based in Washington, D.C., say their installation could potentially supply power to thousands of New England homes.
With proper oversight and operation, nuclear plants have been as safe as any other, and are infinitely cleaner and less polluting.
It is not necessary to sacrifice the privilege of Massachusetts' magnificent coastline which sustains us. In allowing the destruction of an ecological sanctuary like Nantucket Sound we will fail in our commitment to uphold the public trust placed in us to protect our coastline for future generations.
CRITICS OF PROPOSED US offshore wind farms have recently lauded efforts to develop deep-water offshore wind energy technologies that would allow wind farms to be built far from shore. They suggest that advances in research and development are proceeding at such a rapid pace that thousands of wind turbines could soon be operating off the northeast coast without encroaching on anyone's view or posing any threat to the environment. Clarification about the current state and potential of deep-water offshore wind energy appears timely.
These examples show that offshore wind technology is advancing so rapidly that sacrificing Nantucket Sound for a project like the one currently being proposed is shortsighted. In the near future, the public could get the same benefits from building an offshore wind plant farther out to sea with far fewer negative impacts, and at the same time avoid being saddled with what may well become an obsolete technology.
The head of New England's biggest natural gas utility promised yesterday that homes and businesses across the region will face no shortage of gas for heating this winter.
A Science Unit report on the controversy over a proposed wind farm to be built off the coast of Massachusetts in the middle of Nantucket Sound.
Researchers seeking to make the ocean's salty brine drinkable using wind power will spend the next year using the town of Hull as a case study to help other water-needy, windswept coastal areas filter freshwater from the sea. With one wind turbine already spinning, another to be installed in January, and a third offshore turbine being considered, Hull is an ideal laboratory for modeling a desalination plant that runs off a combination of renewable energy and the electric grid, according to James Manwell, director of the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Scope of Project: Offload windmill components from rail cars to trucks, for transporation west along Route 2 approximately 7.5 miles up Florida Mountain, for final installation as part of the Hoosac Wind Project in Florida and Monroe, MA.