Professors say US has fallen behind on offshore wind power

Professors say U.S. has fallen behind on offshore wind power
UD professors report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that the U.S. has fallen behind on offshore wind power.

University of Delaware faculty from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), the College of Engineering and the Alfred Lerner School of Business and Economics say that the U.S. has fallen behind in offshore wind power.

The UD professors, who are all affiliated with UD's Center for Carbon Free Power Integration (CCPI), reported their findings in an invited paper that appeared this week in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Titled "The Time Has Come for Offshore Wind Power in the U.S.," the paper asserts that while have been successfully deployed in Europe since 1991, the U.S. is further from commercial-scale offshore wind deployment today than it was in 2005.

"As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, it is disheartening to see that while land-based wind and solar have reached new heights, U.S. offshore wind has remained a missed opportunity," says the paper's lead author, Jeremy Firestone, who is a professor in CEOE's School of Marine Science and Policy and directs CCPI.

Collectively, Firestone and his UD colleagues have decades of experience in research, teaching and policy advice.

Firestone contends that regulatory, tax and finance policy and planning changes, as well as a refocused research effort, are required to advance U.S. offshore wind development.

Offshore wind development, he says, is currently predicated on a model originally developed for offshore oil. But while can be sold to refineries throughout the U.S. and its price is influenced by global markets, electricity from renewable energy such as offshore wind is tied to local markets and is part of a regional grid system.

"Electricity markets are different than oil and gas, it's like trying to put a square peg in a round hole," says Firestone.

Tax policy and financial incentives, including long-term tax credits for implementation, he continues, are important with projects like offshore wind, which are very capital intensive, as are loan guarantees.

Offshore has tremendous potential to help the U.S. reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. By displacing coal and natural gas, offshore wind will reduce health costs and contribute to improved air quality and reduced climatic impacts.

Other motivations for offshore wind development include creating local manufacturing and other jobs, reducing common air pollutants, providing energy security and price stability, and improving U.S. economic competitiveness.

To help overcome current barriers to offshore wind implementation, the UD professors also advocate that research focus on impediments specific to the U.S.

"Given that research dollars are limited, it is important to target those funds to areas that will result the greatest value-added to the United States," Firestone says.

For example, the United States experiences more extreme wind and wave loading due to hurricanes and northeasters, as well as icing in the Great Lakes areas, creating U.S. specific research opportunities.

Similarly, research aimed at better understanding the wind regime specific to the Atlantic Ocean's Mid-Atlantic Bight—how windy it is and where—will provide important information about how much power can be generated in different segments of the ocean, which in turn affects prices that people would have to pay.

Social and cultural concerns of coastal residents also can impede offshore wind power development progress.

"Individuals often have deep and meaningful experiences with the ocean and long-standing ties to coastal communities, and as a result, may be resistant to changes to the coastal landscape. Attention also should be devoted to research that seeks to understand these social and cultural barriers to change," Firestone notes.


Explore further

Offshore wind would boost jobs, energy more than oil: study

More information: "Opinion: The time has come for offshore wind power in the United States" PNAS 2015 ; published ahead of print September 28, 2015, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1515376112
Citation: Professors say US has fallen behind on offshore wind power (2015, September 29) retrieved 25 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-professors-fallen-offshore-power.html
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Sep 29, 2015
Fallen behind? I didn't even know we were in race!

Sep 29, 2015
It will happen. I am happy to see others make the first mistakes in siting, technology, operation and maintenance. We will learn from them.

Sep 29, 2015
Probably fallen behind because the energy needs of the US cannot be captured by wind power at this time.

Sep 29, 2015
Part time power is insufficient for a 21st century world.

Sep 29, 2015
Offshore wind power disturbs marine ecosystems:
- Collision risk;
- Short-term habitat loss during construction phase;
- Long-term habitat loss due to disturbance from wind turbines installed and from ship traffic during maintenance;
- Barriers to movement in migration routes; and
- Disconnection of ecological units.
http://www.wind-e...rds.html

Sep 29, 2015
EU countries already have thousands of off-shore windmills. Over 90% of the global total. Tens of thousands more are planned off EU shores with many also now under construction. Some of them already going over 8 MW per unit. Clearly with so many years of success the problems have been worked out. Even a whole range of service and installation ships have now been in use for many years now as well.

So thousands and going into tens of thousands versus zero so far for the US. I don`t want to call that falling behind. It is like the US not having high-speed rail (acela only reaches 77mph on average). While the EU but also Japan, China and others now have high speed rail going between all major cities. It is a choice more so then being behind. Especially with US fracking destroying momentum for clean energy as well. But Europe has little oil and gas itself. Depending on Russia, etc. So for them it is about moving to independence as much as it is about moving to that clean future.

Sep 29, 2015
While making incredible leaps as the land of the bone deep anti-intellectuals. How much do you want to bet that the worst tinfoil jobs on here are disproportionately American? rygesogn and Zephir I think, are the only two that aren't. I wonder if any of the creationists aren't.

Being American means having an opinion, being proud to shout it loudly and demonize dissenters, regardless of one's actual knowledge about the subject. Classic American values is the Iowa farmer in Chicago looking at a sculpture saying, "I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like and I don't like that!". And gets the same vote as Frank Lloyd Wright's ilk on the subject. The tyranny of the majority. Zoe Baird was right.

Sep 29, 2015
1/5 * Shitlist said, Part time power is insufficient for a 21st century world.


Which is why you don't get a job? Might have to get multiple part time positions? Yeah, doing the hard yards to meet a goal bit by bit isn't really in your lived experience, is it? That's a great mossbacking strategy. Deny the possibility of anything working that is not a monolithic, all in one solution.

I thought you flat earth types were always freaked out about "preparedness"? Robustness of a system varies directly with the number of factors sustaining it.

Sep 29, 2015
The idea of wind not blowing is also outdated. Countries in Europe now have a large EU connected energy gird sharing wind and also solar power. If the wind blows more in Germany the energy goes to Holland, the UK, Belgium, etc. If the wind blows harder in the North Sea the energy moves to Germany, France gets stored in massive fjords (used as energy storage basins) in Norway, etc. And that 'EU Super Grid' is now being expanded and scaled up even further across the EU countries. It is really what is needed to move to a sustainable system where you can get close to all your energy from renewable sources in reliable ways.

The only bad side compared to more local generated fossil energy is that such a grid is just very expensive to build and takes decades to fully release. It is like the old rail road lines and first super high ways.

Sep 29, 2015
Max5000:

The article stated what the real problem is:

For example, the United States experiences more extreme wind and wave loading due to hurricanes and northeasters, as well as icing in the Great Lakes areas, creating U.S. specific research opportunities.


On the whole, the U.S. has much fiercer and unpredictable weather extremes than does Europe; it's why so many colonists died during the first few centuries of coming to the New World.

Wind Farms in New England off shore would have icing issues to deal with in winter, not to mention category 1 or 2 hurricanes and hurricane remnants during the summer and fall, and of course the "Super Trough" event that happens every few years in the late Spring or Early summer...all of this produces extreme surface wave action and low level winds which simply aren't observed on any sort of regular basis in Europe.

The turbine isn't doing anyone any good if they get destroyed on average before they pay for their own cost.

Sep 29, 2015
Now let's be clear, there actually is more than enough wind power available for hte U.S. on both land and sea, but you cannot just go off half-cocked trying to use the same technology at every location. That sort of strategy just won't work because it will be far too wasteful and expensive.

There's also tornadoes on land, and water spouts over water in the U.S., as we have more tornadoes and more powerful ones than any other part of the world. The technology has to be designed to survive for years...decades of these potential disasters in order to produce long-term sustainability.

Sep 29, 2015
I have developed alternative plans based on Solar power harvesting using road space (not that stuff build into the road,) but rather elevated above the roads so that it captures sunlight for energy, and keeps the roads from being over-heated which causes heat-wedging in so many places.

Solar PV is about 10 times more energy dense than wind energy per unit area of the "farm" space, and it is mechanically less complex; there are no/few moving parts in many cases, and the waste heat can be carried away by water to do other useful things..

I think wind is probably the "Plan B" compared to Solar. We just need serious investments in solar power both on residencial and commercial roof tops as well as in the deserts, and even in industrial applications. Sure solar alone can't provide the power needed for the most energy intensive operations such as metallurgy, but a combination of energy technologies can provide the solution by distributing the energy budge across all these technologies.

Sep 30, 2015
Probably fallen behind because the energy needs of the US cannot be captured by wind power at this time.

do you mean "ALL energy needs" by "energy needs"?
if so, what is wrong with wind power providing SOME energy needs?

Sep 30, 2015
Offshore wind power disturbs marine ecosystems:
- Collision risk;
- Short-term habitat loss during construction phase;
- Long-term habitat loss due to disturbance from wind turbines installed and from ship traffic during maintenance;
- Barriers to movement in migration routes; and
- Disconnection of ecological units.
http://www.wind-e...rds.html


That might not compare with the impact of man made global warming if we do nothing.
It is just a matter of looking at BOTH sides of the equation when considering each choice before comparing choices, meaning, for each choice, look at BOTH the benefits and the harm of that choice, then compare that with BOTH the benefits and the harm of each alternative choice to then use that to make a rational judgement on what is the best set of choices to make.

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