After laying the groundwork for utility scale solar development with an over-arching plan covering public lands, the Obama administration wants to take similar steps to foster offshore wind power. Last week, cabinet officials said their strategic vision for offshore wind energy includes reducing technical costs and risks to make investments more predictable.
The Department of Interior will take steps to make the regulatory process more predictable, transparent, efficient and informed by lessons learned from regulators in other countries. The Energy and Interior departments also committed to analyzing field data from operating offshore wind farms to asses impacts on marine life, turbine radar interference in to support future offshore wind siting and plan reviews. Continue reading “Feds seek to boost offshore wind power”→
Can the U.S. catch up to Europe with offshore wind power?
The U.S. is lagging far behind European countries when it comes to developing offshore wind power, but that’s starting to change.
This week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management took another step toward boosting ocean windpower by identifying an 8,130 acre wind area energy south of Long Island, New York, that could one day be leased for development and help generate electricity where it’s needed most — close to densely populated East Coast communities.
FRISCO — When it comes to offshore wind energy, the U.S. is still a midget compared to countries like Denmark or Germany. But that could change in the coming years with the lease of more than 350,000 acres of ocean off the coast of Massachusetts.
Feds prepare to lease about 245,000 acres off New England Coast
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Nine companies are lined up to bid on the first-ever sale of leases for offshore wind power, with two big parcels about nine miles south of Rhode Island and Massachusetts on the auction block.
While development is still a few years off, the projects could finally help the U.S. start catching up to countries like Holland, Germany and Denmark, which have been producing significant amounts of offshore wind energy for many years. The auction is scheduled for July 31. Information and documents on the projects are compiled on this website.Continue reading “Energy: Is offshore wind power finally coming?”→
Early data suggests proposed sites may interfere with foraging
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — University of Liverpool biologists say a slew of proposed new offshore wind power developments could affect the foraging behavior of northern gannets that nest on Alderney in the Channel Islands.
The tracking suggests that energy planners need to take a closer look at the proposed installations.
“We found that the area where the gannets traveled for food overlapped with nine sites earmarked for offshore marine energy developments which suggests that the feeding habits of these birds could be affected, as well as the potential for collision with wind turbine developments,” said Louise Soanes, with University of Liverpool’s School of Environmental Sciences. “These sites also fell across three different territorial waters in the UK, France and the Channel Islands,” which has implications for international collaboration and cooperation,” Soanes said. Continue reading “Will new English Channel wind farms harm gannets?”→
Developing the resource isn’t without challenges, as some communities have objected to the visual impacts of wind turbines near shorelines, and there are also concerns over impacts to wildlife, primarily birds. Infrastructure is another issue, as the offshore facilities require transmission lines to bring the power to shore.
On the positive side, offshore turbines could be sited near coastal urban areas with dense populations, where the energy is needed the most. But for now, many of those questions are still hypothetical, as offshore windpower is still in its infancy in this country.
SUMMIT COUNTY — The weekend Summit Voice stories tilted toward coverage of renewable energy topics, as we reported on a huge federal push to ease the way for offshore wind power development. Another story looked at the need to develop storage and transmission capacity for renewable energy.
In another big under-reported story, we looked at the settlement of a lawsuit involving billions of dollars of Native American money held in trust and improperly handled by federal officials.
Finally, in the weekend travel feature, we visit a national park in Austria, where we learn how mindful agriculture can help promote biodiversity. Click, read and share with the social media buttons at the end of each story.