Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

Cape Cod: Twisting in the Wind?

Wind developers face a backlash from citizens.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 2002

nobody that is opposed to this project has actually never seen an offshore wind farm," says Olmsted. "I have, and I can tell you that these things are not industrial looking, they are extremely graceful and sleek. They're also pretty quiet. The noise isn't an issue. We could have this meeting ... In fact, I had a meeting on the deck of an offshore wind turbine in the middle of a 25-knot wind. And we could talk just like this. Can you hear the blades from that close? Sure you can, you'll hear a whooshing. That's all."

And what about those blades? Opponents claim they're so big, that you can't help but see them. Measuring 300-plus feet in length, won't you be able to see them for miles and miles, they ask? Not true, says Duffy. "When you actually see the visual impact of these [wind turbines], the blades, particularly when they're in motion, practically disappear from a distance. It's not the same as a stationary object," he says.

When asked why Horseshoe Shoal, Olmsted says, "One of the things we had to find was an appropriate wind regime. We looked for a place where there was appropriate wind along the shore. Horseshoe Shoal fit that description. Granted, farther offshore there are greater wind resources ... [but] Horseshoe Shoal, or Nantucket Sound, happens to be a particularly good resource. It also has reasonable water depths. We're looking for something less than 50 feet."

When it comes to the construction of wind turbines destined for offshore locales, current technology lends itself to shallower waters. Olmsted explains the constant pressure by waves on the embedded towers is such that smaller waves will mean a longer life for the towers themselves. "The deeper the water, the more pressure you'll have, and the more tension you'll have," he says.

Earth Day Announcement
Not all Northeasterners are against wind power.

In an effort to meet New York's growing demand for energy production, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) released a study on April 22-EarthDay- evaluating the potential for using offshore wind turbines to produce electricity for Long Island. The study shows that nearly 5,200 MW of electricity could be produced by offshore turbines placed three-to-six miles off the beaches of New York.

The plan names the most feasible area to construct the park as "a narrow band parallel to the entire south shore and to the east of Montauk Point. The band extends from three- ... to six-miles offshore and consists of water depths of between 50 ft. and 100 ft. Constituting over 314 square miles, this area could conceivably accept up to 5,200-MW of wind power capacity (using 1,733 wind turbines), which would yield the equivalent of 77 percent of Long Island's electricity needs."

Compare that to the wind project proposed off Nantucket Sound, and there are lots of similarities. However, the water depth is one variance. According to the report, "No wind turbines have yet been installed in such deep water, and it's probable that such a wind farm would not be economically viable in