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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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  • NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trongey ( 21550 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:26PM (#39420157) Homepage

    As always, nobody wants this stuff where they will have to look at it. Then there's the political brilliance in the linked article: "...the advantage of sharing costs across several states, potentially increasing political support for the plan." Yeah, a bunch of New England states are gonna jump at the chance to pay for something that benefits other states.

  • by Captainmarts ( 2530504 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:29PM (#39420197)
    I wonder whether they have considered using the WINDCSAN dataset. It's what I worked on for a couple of years developing much greater accuracies for offshore windspeeds than modelled data - and more accurate than the raw NASA data. We managed to achieve 95% accuracy when compared to in situ metmasts, far better than the 80% accuracy with the raw data. See: []
  • Re:NIMBY (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @08:19PM (#39421377)

    This AC is not rich, lives on Cape Cod about five miles from proposed site, and is not a fan of the plan. Even if it did "look nice" the idea of my already-high energy rates going up because private entrepreneurs came up with yet another get-rich-quick scheme at our expense displeases me. It comes down to this: public waters given away to private individuals who will receive buckets of our cash for it. And in a decade when wind power is made obsolete by better technologies, they're gonna hand us the bag.

  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @06:21AM (#39424823) Journal

    From the point of view of the UK National Grid, wind is NOT considered intermittent. But nuclear is. Why?

    From a grid management perspective, if your wind farms are generating 2GW of power now, they will likely be generating 2GW or very near that in 20 minutes time, and it's very predictable over the next few hours what the wind generation is going to do.

    However, Sizewell B could go offline in 2 minutes time meaning the grid suddenly loses well over 1GW of generating capacity in one sudden, enormous hit. This never happens with wind, because it's generated by thousands of small generators instead of one huge one, and the wind never *suddenly* stops, it always takes a few hours for the wind to slow down so you have plenty of notice. But you won't have any notice of a sudden shutdown of a large coal or nuclear power station, so you must keep enough spinning reserve online to cope with the possible sudden failure of one or more large power stations. If you don't have enough spinning reserve, well, you end up with something like the great north east blackout a few years ago in the United States if a large power station goes offline.

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich