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BlueWater Wind – KC Sahl – at LaQuinta

June 27, 2008 @ 12:00 am EDT


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This week our speaker  was KC Sahl of Blue Water Wind. When Mr. Sahl gave his presentation this morning he began with a film of the project that has been proposed off the coast of Delaware. In that region the public response was considerably different from the proposal that was advanced by Florida Power & light here on Long Island. Yes, there were the usual questions about the affect the towers would have on migrating birds, but those questions were answered years ago when the original wind farm was placed off the coast of Denmark.

The Blue Water presentation showed interviews with the Danes, and the Danes treated any controversy about wind power as old, and debunked news. "Birds are not stupid" said one Danish engineer, "they simply avoid these towers or fly in straight lines between them." Then he went on to show migratory studies that proved his point. Delaware as of last week is a "done deal", when a power agreement was signed. There seems to be no controversy about marine life. Everything points to a positive marine life effect. These structures are natural havens for marine growth. mussels clams, oysters and fin fish are abundant when structures are in place on the ocean floor.

The towers that are proposed by Blue Water for Long Island are twice as far away from shore than the original proposal called for, and the generators will be larger, at 3.6 megawatts each. Not only will this added distance make them difficult, or impossible to see, it puts them in an even more reliable wind field. I asked about the additional cost of the cabling, which costs $1 million per mile. The answer is that three million extra dollars is not significant as a percentage of costs for a project of this size.

The generators for wind power are getting bigger, and the question came up about putting in larger generators if they were developed while the process continued. KC said that not only would they shift to the new generators if developed during the process, they would eventually add more towers if they were developed after the original installation. He also said that the cabling being used would be robust enough to accommodate the additional towers and/or er generators.

The builders are a $70billion global enterprise with many completed wind projects. They will build, and maintain the towers, and generators under a power agreement with LIPA. Since fuel never enters into the picture they can project 30 years out with stable costs. We know that is not something you can say about any generator that uses fuel, regardless of what fuel you may be talking about.        

When asked what would happen if there was an abundance of power when it was not needed, as in the dead of night in the middle of winter, Mr Sahl said the generators would be shut down. I then asked, “Why not use the energy being produced to elecrolitically produce hydrogen and oxygen from water?” The answer, perhaps we can.

Pictured: KC Sahl, Blue Water Wind, Ernie Fazio, LIMBA Chairman