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US Interior Department Report: Wind could supply enough power to meet US electricity needs
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Wind turbines off US coastlines could potentially supply more than enough electricity to meet the country's current electricity demand, the US interior department reported today.

Simply harnessing the wind in relatively shallow waters - the most accessible and technically feasible sites for offshore turbines - could produce at least 20% of the power demand for most coastal states, interior secretary Ken Salazar said, unveiling a report by the department's minerals management service that details the potential for oil, gas and renewable development on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The biggest wind potential lies off the Atlantic Coast, which the report estimates could produce 1,000 gigawatts of electricity - enough to meet a quarter of the national demand. The report also notes large potential in the Pacific, including off the California coast, but in much deeper waters that could pose increased challenges for turbines.

Salazar told the attendees at the 25x25 Summit, a collection of agriculture and energy representatives exploring ways to cut carbon dioxide emissions, that "we are only beginning to tap the potential" of offshore renewable energy.

The report is a step in the Obama administration's process to chart a course for future offshore energy development, an issue that crested last year amid high oil prices with the chants of "Drill, baby, drill" at the Republican National Convention.

Critics have accused Barack Obama and Salazar of dragging their feet on new oil and gas drilling, and today's report does little to rebut them. It includes no new estimates of potential oil and gas reserves offshore and notes that some of the existing estimates are based on 25-year-old seismic studies.

Meeting with reporters after his speech, Salazar said he would wait to decide whether to commission new seismic studies until after he convenes a series of offshore energy hearings, which begin next week in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Drilling advocates say updated estimates could show even more offshore oil potential.

In contrast, Salazar said he expected a push to expedite offshore wind development to be one of the most significant aspects at the hearings. He pledged to finalize rules guiding such development, which the Bush administration failed to complete before leaving office, within about two months.

this piece originally appeared on the Guardian

Image credit: alexdecarvalho, Creative Commons License

related posts: Off-Shore Wind Power Set to Expand

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I am actually pro renewable energy,

but there are a lot of disadvantages as can probably be read in various papers on the subject. But I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on this (Half knowledge is dangerous). But, I would like to comment on the picture you chose to put up here, which is clearly misleading. If you took away the romantic flavor and add another 40 or something rows of those mills, then you would be at a realistic picture. I would really like to support this website and its ideas, since I think many things, which are technologically available, are not used in proper proportion and you give those ideas a platform, but please be scientifically correct. I could not find a picture, which showed a huge offshore windmill park, but here is a taste what it would have to look like to have sufficient windmills to produce energy of scale. I know offshore turbines are much bigger and produce more energy, but still this picture up there is romanticizing the real picture.

Here is how a it would look onshore, if windmills get used in an effective manner.

Lots of words for saying not much, but I hope you got my point.

Thank you.

Posted by: Christian Bernardt on 6 Apr 09

Yes, some wind power projects are bigger than others. Here is the information on the image above, along with how much power these specific turbines provide:

"Middelgrunden is located 2 km off shore east of Copenhagen. It consists of 20 Bonus 2 MW wind turbines arranged to form an arch. With a total power of 40 MW the wind farm can generate 90 TWh a year. That is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 20,000 (Danish) households or three per cent of the total electricity consumption of Copenhagen."

Posted by: Sarah on 6 Apr 09

The biggest wind potential lies off the Atlantic Coast, which the report estimates could produce 1,000 gigawatts of electricity - enough to meet a quarter of the [currently negawatt-blind] national demand.

little edit.

Posted by: hapa on 6 Apr 09

Christian, I agree with you in that the wind farm above looks mighty small. I actually had the same thought, but more importantly, let's think of this from a few different angles: while the Obama administration may be "dragging their feet" why are our European brethren, namely countries like Germany and Spain taking this initiative and running with it? (think the strong, purposeful stride of a Kenyan marathon runner as opposed to the lightning fast sprint of say, Usain Bolt of Jamaica). And any thought to the actual power (fossil fuels?) that is required to start up these turbines which subsequently are to generate energy? Curious to know if the ends do indeed justify the means.

Posted by: Dudnie Michel on 7 Apr 09

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