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Power Science

Optimize Offshore Wind Farms Using Weather Modeling 111

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a Stanford news release: "Politics aside, most energy experts agree that cheap, clean, renewable wind energy holds great potential to help the world satisfy energy needs while reducing harmful greenhouse gases. Wind farms placed offshore could play a large role in meeting such challenges, and yet no offshore wind farms exist today in the United States. In a study just published in Geophysical Research Letters, a team of engineers at Stanford has harnessed a sophisticated weather model to recommend optimal placement of four interconnected wind farms off the coast of the Eastern United States, a region that accounts for 34 percent of the nation’s electrical demand and 35 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. ... Among its findings, the Stanford model recommended a farm in Nantucket Sound, precisely where the controversial Cape Wind farm has been proposed. The Cape Wind site is contentious because, opponents say, the tall turbines would diminish Nantucket’s considerable visual appeal. By that same token, the meteorological model puts two sites on Georges Bank, a shallows located a hundred miles offshore, far from view in an area once better known for its prodigious quantities of cod. The fourth site is off central Long Island."
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Optimize Offshore Wind Farms Using Weather Modeling

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  • by stomv ( 80392 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:45PM (#39420377) Homepage

    Coal burned in the ISONE (New England minus a tiny bit of northern Maine) comes almost exclusively from South America -- Columbia and Venezuela. It turns out that shipping it by barge is easier than getting it past the railway congested New York City area.

    That written, given the current prices of delivered gas and coal, gas is on the margin, not coal. That means additional wind generation likely displaces natural gas generation for most hours of the year. However, given that natural gas prices continue to fall, the dispatch order may switch within the next few years or sooner, especially in non-winter months, relegating coal to peak hours during the week in summer and winter regardless of the wind projects.

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for installing wind and displacing fossil fuel generation in New England, New York, and (more importantly) PJM (DC to Newark to Chicago triangle, roughly). However, understand that at this point, wind isn't likely to displace coal in New England.

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:46PM (#39420393)

    They used weather statistics to model their theoretical windfarms.

  • Re:Of course (Score:5, Informative)

    by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @08:38PM (#39421575)

    I'm from southeast Massachusetts, and I agree with the authors: the east coast is the best location. Here's why: 10 miles offshore from Cape Cod, the water is 25 feet deep. 10 miles offshore of Los Angeles, the water is 2000 feet deep.

  • by mathmathrevolution ( 813581 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @12:27AM (#39423313)
    Wind is already viable. I'm on the east coast and using 100% wind energy and marginal cost is a few bucks per month. It's a small price to pay for clean air. You can find a clean energy provider in your area from this useful page by the Department of Energy [energy.gov].
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:44AM (#39423971)
    The Synrock bit should have been a bit of a clue that I've been following this since before 1986 so the "please educate yourself" comment of yours is a very amusing backfire. Don't just be a silly fanboy, silly fanboys that assume that it's all perfect actually hold progress back (eg. cancellation of the US thorium reactor project because of the implications that current uranium reactors are not perfect).
    It's an interesting subject and you can do a hell of a lot better than the watered down propaganda at the link you sent. The numbers have to actually measure something properly to mean anything and a bullshit graph that ignores capital costs is nothing but a trap for suckers. Don't be a sucker. Learn a bit about what you are advocating and after a while you would be embarrassed to link to something like that.

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10