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United States Earth Power Science Technology

First Offshore Wind Farm In US Waters Delivers Power To Rhode Island (arstechnica.com) 196

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Monday, energy company Deepwater Wind announced that its wind farm three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, has the all-clear to sell electricity to the regional power grid. The Block Island Wind Farm is the first offshore wind energy plant in the U.S., and it's expected to produce 30 MW of electricity at full capacity. Deepwater Wind is slowly ramping up energy output and still must provide additional paperwork to the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, but the executive director of that organization, Grover Fugate, told the Providence Journal, "we don't anticipate any major issues" to getting the wind farm fully online. The one hitch in the Deepwater's plan is that one of the five turbines was recently damaged when a drill bit was left in a critical part of turbine. According to the Providence Journal, "the bit had caused damage to an unspecified number of the 128 magnet modules that line the circular generator and are critical to producing energy." Although the magnet modules can apparently be replaced easily, Deepwater needs to have the components shipped from France, where General Electric, the manufacturer of the wind turbines, makes them. For now, four turbines capable of churning out 6 MW of power each are operational. The Providence Journal notes that National Grid will pay Deepwater Wind 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour of power, with the price escalating over time to 47.9 cents per kilowatt hour. Because the residents of Block Island have some of the most expensive electricity rates in the nation, they will actually see energy savings, despite the price. Mainland Rhode Islanders, on the other hand, will pay an extra $1.07 per month on average.
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First Offshore Wind Farm In US Waters Delivers Power To Rhode Island

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  • Farm? Hardly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Justin Fliss ( 4701259 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @02:41AM (#53481789)
    Does 5 turbines really make it a farm?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Freischutz ( 4776131 )
      Five turbines is more of a backyard wind power vegetable patch. There is an off shore wind farm at Anholt in Denmark that has 111 turbines and outputs 400MW, there is at least one bigger wind farm that Siemens built in the UK near London (IIRC) that has something like 170 turbines and outputs ~600MW. There is an even bigger array of wind farms coming on line at Nordeney in Germany called Gode Wind 1, 2, and 3 which will have a max output of something like 900MW. But let's not be too hard on our American fr
    • It's more of a Wind Small Holding...

    • Near Wichita, Ks, and near Bloominton/Normal, Illinois there are HUNDREDS of them. 5 is a big deal I guess, because the elitist in that area, including Walter Cronkite when he was alive, put up a big stink about placing them out there because they might "ruin the view".
  • As soon as the new Legion of Doom take office.
    • by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @04:30AM (#53482001)

      Hopefully not. They'll make a damned good profit with all the hot air that'll be blowing.

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Perry, who once promised to shut down the dept. for which he will become secretary...errr...well, he did sort of forget what dept. that was but we presume it was Energy, has actually promoted wind and some renewables in Texas...something about jobs he said. He also supported oil and gas....which will be a bit funny for him as another part of the incoming administration tries to get coal use up. It is important to get coal use up so that the coal industry can make more use of machines in place of people to p

  • 47.9 cents/kWh? That's insane. The newest offshore turbine parks in Europe will deliver for less than 10 cents / kWh. Mind you, that's Eurocents. Cheapest one will be built for the Danish coast, 400 MW of power, 4.99cents/kWh.
    • Re:Insane prices (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @03:51AM (#53481917)

      Normally I am the first to ridicule USA, but in this case, I won't. It is their very first installation, it is obvious that it will be expensive - they lack infrastructure to mass produce offshore windparks. The next windpark will be far cheaper.

      Americans, you have my congratulations for the first step! Took you long enough but you'll get there eventually.

      • Re:Insane prices (Score:5, Informative)

        by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @06:17AM (#53482215)
        The U.S.has the second largest installed wind capacity [wikipedia.org] - nearly all of it onshore. Offshore wind farms in the U.S. are complicated by geography. Winds in the Northern hemisphere blow predominantly from the west, so the strongest offshore winds are to the west of land masses (which slow the wind down). Europe is blessed with an extensive continental shelf [extremescience.com] to its west. So it's relatively easy to build an offshore wind farm there several tens or even a hundred kilometers from shore, before the winds are slowed down by land.

        About half the U.S. West coast (California) has practically no continental shelf. You go a kilometer offshore and the water is already deeper than the European continental shelf. Go a few more kilometers offshore and the water is 1-3 km deep. Northern California to Washington does have a slight continental shelf, but (1) practically nobody lives along the coast north of San Francisco, and (2) the bulk of U.S. hydroelectric power is there giving the region the cheapest electricity in the country. So in the geographic region of the U.S.which is most analogous to Europe in terms of strongest winds, offshore wind farms are unfeasible due to underwater topography, (lack of) population, or economics.

        The U.S. East coast has a large continental shelf, but due to the direction of the prevailing winds, you have to go far offshore to find winds stronger than what you'd find onshore. The focus of most offshore wind in the U.S. has been just south of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, where the shoreline turns almost directly east-west [goo.gl], allowing wind speeds to pick up relatively close to shore. It's still nowhere near as good as the offshore winds west of Europe though. The wind farms off Scotland enjoy some of the highest capacity factors on earth - higher than 60%. Typical offshore wind capacity factor in the U.S. is closer to 30%-35%.

        But what do I know. I'm just an ignorant American.
        • That's the nice thing about statistics - they can show completely contradictory things depending on how you count.
          If we go for wind capacity per capita, USA would barely be among the top 10 - yet you have far far more uninhabited land than any European country, more than enough room to build stuff. If we go for wind power as a percentage of electricity produced, then, well, duh - EU wind power share is about twofold (although, to be honest, a part of it is the generally far lower power usage in the European

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Thank you. With all those idiots here making ignorant comparisons, its nice to see that someone actually thinks about the "why" part.

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          The U.S.has the second largest installed wind capacity - nearly all of it onshore

          First of all: to me there is no difference between a windfarm on land and one at sea, other than the obvious reasons that are about the price of placement.
          So even if the US is the second largest in the world with installed wind capacity, what should be of importance is the percentage of used energy.
          The US is one of the highest users of energy, so being the second largest means little by itself. They could be second or place 200

        • What a great post. Thank you.
    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      47.9 cents/kWh? That's insane

      It's 0.50-1.50kWh here in Ontario. [powerauthority.on.ca] This is what Feed in Tariff programs do, drive the price of electricity through the roof. It is now [nationalpost.com] so bad in Ontario, [nationalpost.com] that people [nationalpost.com] are going broke [financialpost.com] trying to pay for electricity bills. The federal Liberals, are now looking at this *exact* policy. If it passes, you can be assured that you'll likely see mass protests and riots in the streets here in Canada. People can't afford 0.18/kWH(which is the peak price in Ontario) already. Top this off with the provincial Libera

      • Perhaps you should figure what is going wrong in your energy market?
        Germany also has "absurd high" feed in tariffs for wind and solar, but the end user prices don't sky rock through the roof.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Germany also has "absurd high" feed in tariffs for wind and solar, but the end user prices don't sky rock through the roof.

          You mean like 0.30kWh [europa.eu] isn't expensive and sky high? That's not counting regional fluctuations but an averaged price. Where prices can hit over 0.44kWh.

      • 0.18/kWh peak price? My heart bleeds for them.

        My current peak price in CA is $0.44/kWh, with the lowest price $0.12. In fact, the high price works in my favour, because that's what the power company is paying to buy the power that my solar panels are producing.

        More typical in this area is the E1 tariff [pge.com], which varies from $0.18 to $0.40 for a kWh, depending on total usage, not time of use.

      • LOL an Ontario Conservative shill on Slashdot, whodathunkit!

        Not sure if you don't read, or just like spouting ideology but pretty much everything you said is in error, other than the fact that you posted some op ed pieces of conservative based newspapers about Ontario people mad about energy bills. I'll concede that the Liberals "green" direction of a few years ago hasn't produced the results they wanted, and it likely has resulted in slightly higher energy costs. You could also say that (subtracting the "g

        • Yeah, 10 kW as the start? You're going to need at lest forty 250 Watt panels (and those are big panels, around 1.5 square meters each), and that's assuming you get good insolation that far north. And with a good 5-6 hours per day of 50% cloud cover and bright sun. In Canada, year round? Figure eighty panels minimum, around 120 square meters of space. That's not a small residential system, that is a pretty significant installation (remember, it all needs to be south facing as well - I assume you have t
      • by myrdos2 ( 989497 )

        You want to know what the kicker is? In Ontario "green energy" accounts for under 1% of total generation and over 55% of the total price sold to consumers.

        So when I looked this up [www.ieso.ca], I found the following breakdown: Nuclear 36%, Gas/Oil 28%, Hydro 23%, Wind 11%, Biofuel 1%, Solar 1%. That's 36% of total energy generation.

        People can't afford 0.18/kWH(which is the peak price in Ontario) already.

        Looking this one up, I found that they only pay peak rate for 6 hours out of the day. Then they pay "mid-peak" at

    • Hey, we do things BIG in the USA! For example, a recent wind farm install [peninsuladailynews.com] in Port Angeles, WA will have a 213 year payback, assuming 0% interest and a consistent operation at expected levels. Over $100,000 spent to generate $42 per month in electricity.
  • Really wish there was an "undo" button. . .
  • Really, a half dozen turbines and 30MW? How is this seen as anything but a failure. That is at the scale of a singular solar farm.

    I've been to a 300+ MW wind farm with 85+ turbines, and those were terrestrial.

    That said, those were produced using the same subsidies more less as those above, which have problems. The subsidies were to drive the sector, to not only create energy, but to create jobs. However as seen above it isn't really the case when all these things are made overseas and shipped here. That is

    • The average commercial solar "farm" in the US in 2016 is around 500MW, not 30.

      A typical "trial" install of wind turbines is 5. This is a proof of case install. The turbines are installed in one of the highest most consistent wind patterns in the US (the eastern coast winds that blow warm air north into the arctic. These winds are rated as some of the best in the world (strongest, most consistent). Turbines installed in these areas are expected to be turning 90+% of the time and considering the islands only

  • Some perspective here, as someone who has done work in the power industry.

    30 MW is a very, very small amount of generation capacity. I have been to a generation facility where a 25MW diesel generator was the thing used to jump-start the rest of the plant...which was only about a 450 MW facility. 30 MW is pocket change in the power industry, a rounding error. Even small "peaker" CT plants typically produce at least 10x that amount when in service.

    Now, for the cost per KWh. The price cited above is what N

  • Reading this:

    Although the magnet modules can apparently be replaced easily, Deepwater needs to have the components shipped from France, where General Electric, the manufacturer of the wind turbines, makes them.

    Offshoring is wonderful!!! **head/hand-desk laughter**

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