Monday, April 06, 2009

East Coast Wind Power Could Replace 3,000 Coal Plants

We already knew it, but it's nice to hear the Interior Secretary say it:
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Windmills off the East Coast could generate enough electricity to replace most, if not all, the coal-fired power plants in the United States, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday.
How much?
Salazar said ocean winds along the East Coast can generate 1 million megawatts of power, roughly the equivalent of 3,000 medium-sized coal-fired power plants, or nearly five times the number of coal plants now in the United States, according to the Energy Department.
Some of that potential is in deeper coastal waters, and would not be economically feasible to exploit using current technology.
According to an Interior Department report issued last week (available here), the wind power potential of shallow east coast waters (less than 30 meters deep) is 253.2 gigawatts. Most of that potential—165.6 gigawatts—is concentrated in Mid-Atlantic waters.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Edmund Dohnert said...

While there is no doubt that the theoretical potential wind power along the New England/ Mid-Atlantic coast is enormous, the far more important issues are: i) how great a fraction of wind power a given electrical grid can tolerate before electrical supply becomes undependable, and ii) the amount of wind power capacity that is realistically ever going to get built.

Regarding the first issue, unless one installs fossil-fuel backup generating capacity or provides some sort of storage (even more difficult and expensive), once wind power becomes a certain critical fraction of the total grid capacity (some say this number is on the order of 25%), then all sorts of serious reliability problems surface.

The latter issue is mainly a case of overcoming inertia and NIMBY opposition, as well as being able to come up with the required capital investment. In today's shaky economic climate capital investment is likely to be the limiting factor for a long time.

For now, I'd just be happy to see the Bluewater project (finally) get started.

10:50 AM, April 07, 2009  
Anonymous kavips said...

Those are some good points... but those who read this blog are very aware that economics favor wind..

In fact they are so overweighted to wind power that the strongest opposition has been from the carbon fuel industry.

3000 coal plants is the loss of a lot of money..

Wind with its very cheap fuel, (it costs nothing) out performs all other forms of electrical generation, and.... gives consumers the lowest cost of electricity of any source... If every consumer got a 60% rebate on their electric bill, just think of the jump start that would provide the economy?

9:48 PM, April 08, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides, with $50 Billion in subsidies AGAIN requested in the new (proposed) Energy Bill for the nuclear industry that could build a lot of windmills .
No fuel costs, no waste no war to fight for power

8:08 AM, April 11, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edmund - BlueWater is never going to get started because Babcock and Brown are bankrupt --- the whole deal is caput.

3:39 PM, April 14, 2009  

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