Deepwater Wind program confirmed
February 3, 2012 @ 12:00 am EST
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Our speaker this week was William Moore CEO of Deepwater Wind. A company with substantial plans for ocean sited electric generating wind turbines in the eastern shores of the United States.
Their proposal for Long Island is further off shore than the proposal that was rejected by LIPA. It is 30 miles away from land east of Montauk Point. The wind turbines that will be used are 3 times as large as the earlier proposal. They will be using 6 megawatt generators instead of 2 MW. The larger scale generators are new and they bring down the cost of generation considerably. Wind power has in the past been quite costly. The power provided by these generators will still be somewhat more costly than a clean burning natural gas generator, but considerably less costly than wind farms of just a few years ago. And they have the additional advantage of no emissions and no fuel costs which are generally unpredictable
The wind that far off Montauk is robust and reliable according to Moore. But there are more reasons than that to site them there. By placing them in those waters the electrical ties would go to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York. The New York connection could conceivably come in near Montauk and enter Long Island through the South Fork.
The interconnection of two geographic areas that typically have different demands allows for flexibility and redundancy. Moreover the costly connections to shore have another way of paying for themselves. Rather than the "extension cord" model from wind generator to shore it will be another means of connecting power from one service area to another. To get the concept better; we presently have cables crossing the Sound between Long Island and Connecticut, imagine having generators in between carrying power to both sides as well.
Much of the South Fork has load demands that LIPA has difficulty meeting in the summer season. That line could augment the needs at that time of year, and serve as conduit to the rest of Long Island.
The platforms that will have to be used to shoulder these massive turbines (The rotors are 520 feet across) will employ technology that has been used by oil drilling rigs where they anchor the platforms on the ocean bottom. They can easily withstand 150 mile winds and turbines have performed well in the North Sea where winds do go that high. This is a proven technology and new R&D is not required.
This project has potential for solving several needs at once and is completely within the realm of the possible