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  • Offshore Drilling Realities...And What About Offshore Wind?

    The drill, baby, drill crowd was quick to discover that the President’s offshore drilling announcement does very little to increase access to domestic supplies and in fact puts 13 billion barrels of oil and 49 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off limits, respectively. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been much more supportive of offshore wind energy, but should he be? A new Institute for Energy Research video compares a natural gas platform to an offshore wind platform and in terms of surface area and cost, natural gas wins out.

    That’s not to say the government should favor offshore drilling of oil and natural gas at the expense of offshore wind projects or any other energy source. Instead of completely closing the books or causing unnecessary delays, the government should allow industry to pursue these opportunities.

    The Obama administration issued the first offshore wind leases last year, but even they are having their fair share of problems, specifically not-in-my-back-yard problems.

    Although the Cape Wind project the video mentions is still in progress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce details the resistance, noting that the “project has faced strong opposition from some senior politicians in Massachusetts and a deep-pocketed and politically connected local group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. It is reported that the Alliance has poured more than $15 million into fighting Cape Wind tooth and nail ever since the project was unveiled in 2001. The Alliance says that the project poses a threat to public safety, would impact shipping lanes, and would adversely affect tourism and Cape Cod’s economy due to its impact on Nantucket Sound’s natural beauty. The most recent development includes an effort underway by two Indian tribes, who are working in conjunction with the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, to designate the entire Nantucket Sound as an Indian historic property for listing on the National Register as a Traditional Cultural Property.”

    Whatever the energy source may be, two reoccurring problems are overregulation and special-interest politicking; two problems that are unlikely to disappear any time soon.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Offshore Drilling Realities...And What About Offshore Wind?

    1. Billie says:

      Those useless, inconsistent, inefficient costly wind turbines, sure are ugly!

      What energy mankind has derived from nature, has been made efficient and will always win. What energy mankind forces from nature, will always be inefficient and will never win.

    2. TonyfromOz Coomera Q says:

      The image in the video of the whole coastline full of wind towers reminds me of this in reference to the 130 towers proposed for Cape Wind:

      Remember the two old guys kibbitzing from the balcony in Sesame Street sketches. Well, Statler and Waldorf are standing on the beach, pants rolled, up feeling the gentle waves lapping at their bare feet, and looking out over Nantucket Sound.

      Statler turns to Waldorf and says, “Man, those wind towers out there really spoil the view.”

      Waldorf, squinting and peering off into the distance replies, “I can’t see no damn wind towers.”

      Statler looks at him like he’s blind. “Well, climb up on that forty foot stepladder there then.”

      Waldorf climbs the ladder, and holding on for dear life peers out to sea again. “Nope. Still can’t see ‘em.”

      “You’ll need these binoculars then.”

      On a serious note, I have a post on the same subject that details some of the stupidity inherent with this mindless rush to what are basically useless wind tower plants.

      That post is at the following link.
      http://papundits.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/more-po

    3. Robbyn Candelaria, Michigan says:

      President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Salazar need to step up now and DENY the Cape Wind proposal. Doing so will set the standards for offshore wind energy at the right place to ensure that public lands and waters are protected for our children. Our leaders know that Nantucket Sound, sacred ground and waters for the Wampanoag Nation, is not the place for an industrial-sized wind farm. It houses 28 historic properties and 2 National Historic Landmarks, all of which will be adversely affected by the windfarm. Cape Wind proposes to dredge and dig the “Breadbasket of Nantucket Sound,” Horseshoe Shoal, then plant 130 440-ft. tall wind turbines and an electrical service platform there. The service platform will house tons of diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid, and other industrial fluids and greases. It will also be equipped with a helicopter pad. The DEconstruction of Nantucket Sound will also be subsidized by our tax money, and the Cape residents will pay monthly electric bills to support it. The 25 square mile wind farm may able to power only a small piece of America, but it would cost America a priceless national treasure. This must not be allowed to happen. Renewable energy is coming to our doorsteps soon, but it must be done right.

    4. Barbara Durkin says:

      What about Cape Wind (in reality)?

      Cape Wind poses a threat to air travelers as an FAA Presumed Hazard opposed by all three local airports' officials with 400,000 flights annually traveling in this airspace. Ferry operators transporting 3 million passengers annually between Cape Cod and the islands are opposed to Cape Wind they state poses a significant hazard to safe navigation. The MMS final EIS admits 1.43 vessel collisions per year are anticipated. Will these collisions involve a fishing vessel, passenger ferry, or a recreational vessel? As the most important pubic policy consideration is public safety, Nantucket Sound should be excluded from consideration as a suitable location for 130 wind turbines.

      Citizens need reliable and affordable energy. Cape Wind would produce neither, nor. Cape Wind spec'd GE 3.6 MW wind turbines were "discontinued". Cape Wind's currently spec'd Siemens 3.6 MW wind turbines are sinking and shifting as deployed offshore at the UK Gabbard project. Maintenance for offshore wind turbines cost is 10 times the cost for onshore maintainance. MMS and U.S. EPA admit Cape Wind energy would be twice the current price of energy WITHOUT public subsidies, and is "not economically viable". Subsidies are equal to 77% of project construction cost according to Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University.

      Cape Wind siting in Nantucket Sound ignores Best Science (the federal government's by law). USFWS and DOI wind turbine siting guidelines state to avoid placing turbines in documented locations of any species of wildlife, fish, or plant protected under the ESA. Avoid locating turbines in known local bird-migration pathways or in areas where birds are highly concentrated, unless mortality risk is low (e.g., birds rarely enter the rotor-swept area). Examples of high-concentration areas for birds are wetlands, state or federal refuges, private duck clubs, staging areas, rookeries, roosts, riparian areas along streams, and landfills. Avoid known daily-movement flyways (e.g., between roosting and feeding areas) and areas with a high incidence of fog, mist, low cloud ceilings, and low visibility.

      Avoid siting wind turbines in Nantucket Sound, in other words.

      There are 25 Federally Recognized Tribes opposed to siting Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound deemed eligible for listing to the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property. These are the United States South and Eastern Tribes USET.

      The only good thing about Cape Wind is their PR team that has masterfully confined the debate to rich and selfish NIMBYs against energy independence. To the informed, this is entirely untrue, but effective obfuscation.

      As Cape Wind was gifted a "no bid" deal for Nantucket Sound by special language inserted in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, regulators have not asked the critical question as part of a competitive bidding process intended to protect rate and taxpayers:

      'Who are these guys, Cape Wind, EMI, UPC, First Wind, IVPC?'

      Thank You,

      Barbara Durkin

      http://bjdurk.newsvine.com/_news/2010/02/23/39415

      'Cape Wind is a proposed public safety hazard' the testimony:

      http://bjdurk.newsvine.com/_news/2009/09/19/32904

      'Even Rich Nimbys can't afford Cape Wind energy' testimony:

      http://bjdurk.polls.newsvine.com/_news/2009/02/05

      'Cape Wind presents immitigable harm to migratory and endangered birds' (in violation of federal laws)

      http://bjdurk.newsvine.com/_news/2009/03/11/25345

    5. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    6. Jonathan Foxrun says:

      As the Gulf Oil Tragedy worsens, two things occur to me. First is the ineptitude of humans to control outcomes of their mechanical invasions upon Mother Earth. Second is the vulnerability of waters to this destructive folly. In a genuine lack of wisdom, the US has once again decided to go beyond where it should go – this time by Salazar approving Cape Wind. He just slated Nantucket Sound's fragile ecosystem for an electrical service platform with a helicopter pad, fuel, transformer oil, greases, and industrial lubricants – tens of thousands of gallons of them about 4 miles offshore in those waters. With an increase in predicted severe weather events already taking place, prospects of nor'easters on steroids just doesn't bode well for offshore wind farms in their path. Has Mr. Salazar and Minerals Management just made a budgetary decision on how to kill the waters? Why use premium crude oil when tens of thousands of gallons of alternative industrial fluids will work just as well? People, offshore wind farms are not benign pinwheels. They are industrial power plants that can pollute just as much as any man-made beast. Our life-giving waters should not be squandered like this.

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