Cape Wind, Siemens agree to Siemens turbines for offshore wind farm

January 2, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog

( —Siemens last month inked a deal with the Cape Wind project that could be a significant step to advance wind farm activity in the United States. The plant is to operate in New England, on Horseshoe Shoal, an area of water toward the center of Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts. This would be America's first offshore wind farm, capable of powering on average three-quarters of the Cape and Islands with renewable energy. The wind turbines are to be spaced six to nine football fields apart. Siemens' role is major and comes in three parts. Siemens will provide the wind turbines; an electric service platform (ESP) positioned toward the center of the wind farm site, transforming voltage of the electricity produced by the turbines; and a service agreement for the first 15 years of commercial operations.

Siemens will supply 130 3.6-megawartt offshore turbines; in average winds the turbines, with combined capacity, will generate enough electricity for about three-quarters of Cape Cod and its islands. Randy Zwirn, Siemens Energy CEO, told Bloomberg, "This is really the first offshore of any significance anywhere in the U.S." Also according to Bloomberg, Zwirn said that Siemens will most likely be an investor in the project.

Outside Siemens, the Cape deal is also seen as a door-opener for wind farms in the United States, at least from a business perspective, as a catalyst for a domestic wind industry and supply chain. The wind industry already has a substantial stronghold in Europe. As CleanTechnica said, other parts of the world such as the UK, Belgium, and Denmark as well as China have been active in pursuing offshore wind initiatives, yet "the US industry has been practically comatose, with just a couple of demonstration-scale projects to its credit. Cape Wind is going to change all that."

One of the reasons the offshore in the US has not matched its wind power potential has been opposing groups' objections to "visual pollution" and harm to birds, just two of the arguments that have been used against such initiatives. Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, noted in September how "Offshore wind power in the U.S. has struggled mightily to rise from the waves, even as other renewable energy industries have steadily grown." They also noted daunting hurdles identified by analysts, including the higher cost of building offshore , the expense of connecting them to the onshore grid, and the lack of incentives and energy targets that supported the growth of Europe's offshore wind energy sector. Nonetheless, the Cape Wind project is moving ahead and the Siemens agreement for 130 turbines is bolstering confidence that the project will get under way. In a note of confidence, Siemens topped its December press release announcing the agreement with the wording, "Contract marks launch of Offshore Wind industry in America."

According to the Cape Wind site, "Cape Wind has secured all if its Federal and State permits in addition to a 25-year commercial lease from the U.S. Department of Interior. "

Explore further: US approves construction of first offshore wind farm

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1 / 5 (3) Jan 02, 2014
Tehachapi. Or is that not considered a "wind farm"?
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 02, 2014
Siemens will supply 130 3.6-megawartt offshore turbines; in average winds the turbines, with combined capacity, will generate enough electricity for about three-quarters of Cape Cod and its islands.

This is a fair sized project, but I'm wondering why they only plan to use 3.6mw turbines. I thought we already had access to 10mw turbines, or at least I know I saw a company advertising development of them even several years ago. Are they competitors and just not having access to the same tech, or is the wind situation (avg speed and elevation of wind) such that 10mw turbines wouldn't be efficient?

Does anyone know about these issues?
not rated yet Jan 02, 2014
In 2009 Cape Wind signed a deal for 130 gear driven 3.6 megawatt turbines. The total price of the project including the under water electric cables was announced by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley as 2.4 Billion dollars. Today 4 years later the gear drive type turbines are by wind industry standards antiques. The newer turbines are direct drive type. The older gear driven land based turbines in New England are having massive catastrophic gear box failures after only three to five years ---Also the price of copper grid under water electric cables has doubled since 2009 . The real cost of the project is between 4 and 5 Billion today. There are still 4 or 5 lawsuits. This project will probably never happen with the ongoing history
not rated yet Jan 02, 2014
Cape Winds 2009 wind turbine project was approved in 2011. A change in the plans at this late date would to upgrade to larger direct drive wind turbines would require another review. Now Cape Wind is stuck with using older 2009 gear driven wind turbines with higher maintenance issues than the newer direct drive turbines .The company supplying the turbines may offer a ten year warranty but looking at the history of these wind turbine companies you have to ask : How long do these companies stay in business using gear driven wind turbines ?
1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2014
To equal the current installed electrical capacity in the United States you'd need 8,000 billion dollars for the project. Actually, you'd need more like 16,000 billion because wind isn't on all the time.

Let's say you wanted to get just 20 percent from offshore wind. You'd need $3,200,000,000,000....
3 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
What an awesome engineering project. Some of the objections has been the visual pollution that the windmills would make, and I see that POV. However, to a passing tourist, seeing such a colossi man-made structure for the production of 100% green non-polluting energy might be inspiring.

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