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Long Island Renewable Energy Forum TBC
April 15, 2011 @ 12:00 am EDT
This morning I asked Gordian Racke, a man that has been a leader on energy issues for many years to assemble a small panel of presenters. The energy topics he selected were energy planning presented by Al Harsch, Energy building conservation presented by Mike Murtha, and off shore wind generation by Tim Daniels
While there was some overlap in some of the information, these are clearly very different disciplines of energy.
Gordian led off with a review of the problems of energy use and the various approaches to create a more sustainable world. He stated that the issue of climate change is not debatable. Glacier National Park for example had over 100 glaciers in it at one time, and today there are 26. By the year 2010 there will be none. Then he went into the economic ramifications of shipping $1.3Billion dollars off Long Island that will never be reinvested in this region. (The same is true for the $500 billion rest of the nation). Finally he spoke about the national security exposure we have as long as we have to rely heavily on hostile areas of the world to obtain our oil.
When Al Harsch spoke he discussed solar panel technology and how various factors are important. He stated that solar panels must have a favorable orientation to the sun and even partial shading will have a serious negative effect on the output. He pointed out that there are two basic technologies used solar. There are the conventional panels and the so-called thin film technology. The thin film is a more recent development and it is less expensive to make, but it does not produce as much electric power. Harsh then went into the wind turbine technology. Wind has an exponential increase in power when the speed of the wind is increased. Increasing the speed of the wind by 2 times will increase electrical output by 8 times. Therefore wind turbines are mounted at heights that preclude the ground interference wind encounters. It also makes off shore wind very effective, which is what the next speaker handled. Al Harsch is with Green Logic Energy LLC
Mike Murtha, President, Murtha Construction Inc then spoke about the energy efficiency of buildings. His experience goes back to a time when the job was simply "plug the holes." Since that time the energy conservation business has created tools that accurately assess and quantify losses. There is now the ability to predict the outcome of the energy conservation work performed. He points out that while this was work that was done by renovators in the past, it is now a specialized field with its own framework of knowledge. With proper analysis vast improvements in building performance can be achieved.
The last speaker was Tim Daniels, Senior VP, Deepwater Wind. Deep Water Wind is a company that was created specifically to design and build Off-Shore Wind in the NY-Long Island area. Deep-water placement of wind turbines means that the wind resources will almost always be there. The construction costs are more than on land, but the rich wind possibilities makes the effort worth the extra expense. Moreover bigger wind turbines can be installed. On land the transportation to the operation site of very large turbines is not practical. When taking turbines out to an offshore location the turbines are floated on large barges. These barges can be any size required. These turbines are getting larger all the time and within a year or two we will have wind turbines in the 8 megawatt class. In contrast when LIPA was considering their proposed offshore field they were using 3.5 megawatt units. The high productivity we expect from wind generation that is approximately 30 miles offshore should be very reliable.
The Q&A is sometimes as interesting as the presentations. One question about density turned out to be a good one. Too much density will result in turbulence that will reduce the efficiency of the units. What about avian interference? Not much of a problem 30 miles out.
The interest in the topics that were covered was high and we will probably do another one covering different aspects of energy. Perhaps geothermal, tidal flow and other technologies will be among the topics