Quite literally a drop in the Ocean
If they want to be serious about wind power they should add a few more noughts to that number. Too little too late.
Besides don’t some oil rigs already float?
The Biden Administration plans to invest heavily in the expansion of offshore wind energy, with a particular focus on floating turbines that can be placed where ocean breezes have more energy-generating potential. Through the series of programs and funding opportunities, the White House hopes to reduce the costs of floating …
You have to start somewhere.
Yes oil rigs already float but 1) they don't have to have a cable back to shore and 2) they don't deliberately try to capture as much of the wind blowing by as possible.
I'm sure an oil rig would be a bit more difficult to handle if it had a giant sail on top trying to make it move with the wind and want to tip over. Probably a floating wind turbine requires better anchoring than a floating oil rig.
Probably a floating wind turbine requires better anchoring than a floating oil rig? No an oil rig would almost certainly have more drag than a wind turbine. Rotating blades only catch at best 40% of the available power. Sails on rails are actually better!
"Probably a floating wind turbine requires better anchoring than a floating oil rig."
It does. Just look at the existing floating offshore wind turbines.
That prize money and the way it's being put over, it almost feels as though the US has come up with a new idea and suddenly wants to develop it and become a world leader.
Maybe it's just the articles author and the way he wrote it, but it doesn't even offer a nod to the existing technology.
Powering 5 million homes in 2035 means about 3% of domestic electricity use in the US. It's a drop.
"You have to start somewhere" is essentially equivalent to "let's not try to figure out which approaches make sense first".
Offshore wind might be viable, and research into improving the cost-efficiency of turbines is not a bad idea in itself, but nothing in the article indicates this is a sensible area to actually develop for practical use – yet.
The USA could learn a lot from how offshore wind has evolved in Europe but they seem to want to re-invent the wheel. That's not unusual in the USA. NIH means a lot more than 'National Institute of Health'.
Their target strike price of $48/MWh is AFAIK higher than what the North Sea is already operating at.
I can't help but think that the current POTUS has at least one hand of big oil up his posterior.
>Their target strike price of $48/MWh is AFAIK higher than what the North Sea is already operating at.
The North Sea is very shallow
The pacific off the California / Washington coast is very deep, and gets deep very fast.
The east coast has shallow seas but has storms and nimbys. The great^4 grandchildren who inherited their ocean front homes from 19C industrial barons strangely don't want their view spoiled.
The tech billionaires in California think the wind turbines look cool, but it's currently slightly expensive to buidl them in 4000m deep water
"The North Sea is very shallow"
Mostly, which has been a bit of a boon for offshore wind, but not only is it not all shallow, there are other seas and coasts around the UK, some of which are busy shipping lanes and fishing grounds. The UK has floating wind turbines out there now.
So, R&D started some time ago and 5 years experience of running the system. More research, if shared, is always welcome though.
According to Wikipedia
The world's first commercial floating offshore windfarm, Hywind Scotland, was commissioned in 2017. It uses 5 Siemens turbines of 6 MW each, has a capacity of 30 MW and is sited 18 miles (29 km) off Peterhead. The project also incorporates a 1 MWh lithium-ion battery system (called Batwind).
WindFloat Atlantic, sited 20 km off the coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal, has a capacity of 25 MW and has operated since July 2020.
The 48 MW Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm is the UK's second commercial floating offshore windfarm, and completed construction in August 2021. "
All of the first 20 or so results from Google, searching on "the first floating wind farm in the world" (without the quotes), say Wikipedia is correct. There were a couple of single test installations earlier, one off the coast of the Netherlands and one off the coast of Norway (Also called Hywind) off the coast of Norway and lead directly the Scottish Hywind farm.
Their target strike price of $48/MWh is AFAIK higher than what the North Sea is already operating at.
That's a regulatory/market question. So the UK rigged it's market so that electricity price was based on the most expensive producer, essentially to subsidise wind power. Recently that's kinda backfired, ie gas price rises set the price for electricity now.
That's obviously lead to a massive windfall for non-gas producers like 'renewables', because their costs are unaffected by the price of gas. This is why customers on '100% renewable' contracts are currently enjoying much cheaper electricity now. No, wait, who am I kidding.. But the media, ie the clueless Bbc gloss over this when demanding windfall taxes on evil fossil fuels. Luckily it seems Truss may be slightly less clueless, and may be including the estimated £40bn or so in wind windfalls in her plans. But a lot of it gets wrapped up in this mess-
Successful developers of renewable projects enter into a private law contract with the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC), a government-owned company. Developers are paid a flat (indexed) rate for the electricity they produce over a 15-year period; the difference between the ‘strike price’ (a price for electricity reflecting the cost of investing in a particular low carbon technology) and the ‘reference price’ (a measure of the average market price for electricity in the GB market).
PFI at it's finest. But you can see the current subsidy rate for offshore CfD's here-
which shows a broad spread of prices. But don't be fooled by some of the 'low' contracts, like Dogger Bank. Scammers have somethink like 3yrs before they have to enter into the CfD scheme, so although they should be charging say, £51/MWh, they can currently sell at market price and make bank. And because contracts are indexed, existing producers also self-inflate energy prices. So inflation's running at 10% due to price of gas/energy, CfD strike prices increases by 10%+ which is a genius move.
But the 'renewables' lobby is desperate to keep this gravy train rolling, and is being helped along by useful idiots like John Gummer. One current 'solution' is to rethink the CfD thing, and set a 'price cap', so around £200/MWh has been floated. If you've contracted at £51/MWh currently, this is obviously a nice lil windfall. But the 'renewables' lobby keeps telling us their product is getting ever cheaper. Market prices and mechanisms don't reflect this, but they could. So we could use benchmarking rather than crudely indexed CfDs.
Bigger problem is it still does nothing to solve the fundamental problems of 'renewables', ie intermittency, which is why we're in this mess in the first place. 'Renewables' aren't reliable, so they need back-up power, which has been gas. Oops.
I'd like to think that will actually happen, but...Government ;-/
It sounds like it might, but as always, there's lobbying. So 'agreeing' to a cap system in exchange for vastly inflated CfD strike prices.
The whole thing needs reform, and telecomms kind of has an example, eg-
Which focuses on cost. The 'renewables' lobby tends to gloss over that part, except when they're promoting themselves as the 'cheapest'. Which they might be, if you ignore interconnection, distribution, stand-by costs etc. Which has been the problem. If it's so cheap, why has electricity got so expensive?
But using some form of cost+ methodolgy generally works. Government says 'gimme 50GW' because Net Zero. Potential bidders can quote based on a standardised cost model. There are still.. issues when power and energy get confused, ie 50GW isn't anything close to 50GWh, but CfDs could contract based on GWh, if that's desireable. Supplier is then obligated to deliver 50GWh at the contracted price. Sure, that would mean they'd carry the cost of intermittency, but that's perhaps better than loading it onto consumers who have no real choice but to pay up. There's also no real incentive in the energy market to control or reduce costs, in fact just the opposite when those costs can be passed through and generate huge profits for the industry. Then again, the government could do something sensible, and re-nationalise the National Grid and ESO to remove those perverse incentives.
Hmmm. Let’s examine that a fraction more closely shall we?
Oil Companies will invest in more drilling which will drive climate change. Green companies will build more green generation.
Which one is worth having.
A lot of reliability of generation can be dealt with via over provisioning. Again sounds like a win to me.
The PRC built wind farms with a total capacity of almost 100GW in 2020, a rise of nearly 60% on the previous year, which is more than the rest of world combined. The US built just 16.5GW.
Where is the UK? 10,973 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 24.2 gigawatts.
Up to 2020, there were no major UK-based wind turbine manufacturers. Most are headquartered in Denmark, Germany, the PRC and the USA
look at Wind power as a percentage of total consumption, and you will find the UK considerably higher than all the other mentioned nations.
In fact, Scotland produces more electricity than it needs, as do the Orkney and Shetland Isles
Wind generation is approximately 30% of UK capacity, carbon neutral at over 53% (that includes DRACS "Bio-mass" (trees) which is on shaky ground)
There is a long way to go worldwide, but the Uk is far from behind, and while the manufacturing companies might not be UK based, the Manufacturing is. The majority of UK turbines and blades are made in the UK. there are large production hubs in the north of England and up the East coast of Scotland, that are transitioning from rig building and maintenance to turbines.
The article I read from a US news source was playing up the angle that the US would be catching up with Europe and Asia on floating wind generation.
Not sure how much of that came from what Biden or others in government said, but I imagine framing it partially as "the US is behind and we need to catch up" will help sell it to some republicans who care more about US not falling behind in green technology than they care about green energy itself.
This also shuts down the NIMBYs who don't want fixed offshore wind generation because it is oh so terrible they have to actually SEE turbines from shore. It is also the only feasible option for wind generation at scale on the Pacific coast, which in contrast to our Atlantic/Gulf coasts falls quickly to rather deep depths not far offshore especially along California.
I agree there, and think that the first batch should be put into place off the Massachusetts coast. Plenty of greenies there. Line 'em up in rows, one every 500 feet, with 5 rows staggered every 100ft.
But, I don't want any of them near me. I'd rather see the stacks of a nice, quiet thorium nuclear reactor or two than a bunch of damned windmills.
I know you're hoping to troll the Kennedys or whatever, but the continental shelf slopes very gently there, in order to have them in sufficiently deep water to be floating they would not be visible from the coast. You also can't put them that close together, there is optimal placement to maximize the amount of power generated.
But but but green power!
Besides, this chart shows that the average wind speeds off the coast are stronger than they are in Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado and there are huge wind farms in all three states. The stronger winds off Massachusetts would provide far more power than they do in the middle of the US. And why have them float, anyway? If it's so shallow there, plant them in the ground. It's not like people haven't been building offshore for centuries already. Sink piers strong enough to handle the ocean, put the platform higher than the highest recorded ocean surge ever recorded, and start sticking them out there. Or do you consider rich liberal's ocean views to be more important than rich liberal claims that we need to stop using fossi fuels? Plenty of power right there at the point of use for those rich liberals.
Modern wind turbines have considerably longer blades than that, and I remember reading about a study where they found spacing them at 4x rotor diameter (nearly 200m in some) was necessary for best performance. If they aren't all in a line and you have multiple rows they need to be even farther apart yet.
Speaking of making oneself look like a fool, whataboutism is a fool's game. Besides, the fly ash problem is being worked on. What's being done to deal with windmill disposal, ie the original question here? Nothing. Fiberglass recycling is possible, but those blades go straight to the dump. They could be made with aluminum, or redesigned so that the leading edge of the blades has a a replaceable edge allowing the fiberglass portion to last longer, but all fiberglass is cheaper. No, windmills are really greenwashed energy.
Windmill blades may indeed not be toxic but micro plastics are becoming a worry, they are getting everywhere. Just because you have put it in a hole in the ground does not mean it is going to stay there.
Even if they are not a source of it throwing them away is a waste of resources. Reduce Reuse, Recycle it should be more than a catchy phrase!
Actually, to be fully accurate, we are talking about electricity, not energy. Electricity is only one form of energy generation. Total energy consumption in the United States is much higher then total electricity consumption because you have to include energy derived from burning fossil fuels directly, such as in transport and heating. If these forms of energy use are eventually fully electrified, US electricity consumption will be much, much higher.
This still won't fix California's problems with summer power. When that big high parks over the west, even the offshore areas don't get much wind. It also brings in monsoon clouds that block solar production. The additional heat and humidity drive up demand. That is why Governor Newsance is keeping Diablo Canyon in operations.
It sounds more like a token payment to encourage R&D in this sector. Floating wind has been around for long enough in Europe (certainly at the R&D level, with a few designs now in the final validatino stages). But if you look at the Aberdeen large floating wind turbine designs that have been operational long enough, it's hard to think why the ideas don't already exist.
I suppose there are some issues relating to transmission. There have been a few interesting recent developments in Europe, for example transmission using hydrogen gas instead of expensive metallic cables. The bonus with hydrogen rubber pipes is that gas leaks will leave an obvious large set of bubbles leading to any breakages.
Who knows where this will lead!
For example, dealing with US regulatory and construction codes is a different kettle of fish. I recently worked on a US project where the constuction code required consideration of the 500 and 1000 year maximum wind speeds and earthquakes. These really aren't so common in the North sea and it was interesting to see the US insurance viewpoint of what a turbine had to survive
"The bonus with hydrogen rubber pipes is that gas leaks will leave an obvious large set of bubbles leading to any breakages."
The designs that I have seen don't use pipes, the hydrogen is all stored in a tank and then drone ships autonomously dock with each turbine and drain it. This eliminates the need to put the turbines near the shore.