A variety of wind farms are being proposed, designed and constructed across the US. Cape Wind proposes the first offshore wind farm on Nantucket Sound, “… Miles from the nearest shore, 130 wind turbines will gracefully harness the wind to produce up to 420 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.
In average winds, Cape Wind will provide three quarters of the Cape and Islands electricity needs. Maryland’s Governor proposed a plan to build offshore wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean (Maryland lawmakers today refused to pass the plan this year).
His was a $1.5 billion field of giant turbines about 10 miles off of the Ocean City, Maryland shoreline, while the eastern edge is approximately 27 miles from the coast. And in Delaware, NRG Bluewater Wind has won the exclusive right to negotiate with the federal government to build an offshore wind farm.
Suzlon Energy Limited, the world’s third biggest wind turbine maker, is moving to acquire remaining stocks held by minority shareholders in Repower Systems A.G. and turn the German company into its wholly-owned subsidiary.
AE-Rotor Holding B.V., a unit of Suzlon, has asked Repower’s board to begin this process. It holds 95.16 percent of the firm, Repower said in a statement yesterday.
As anyone living near railway tracks will tell you, speeding trains generate quite a bit of wind as they whoosh past. Industrial designers Qian Jiang and Alessandro Leonetti Luparini have come up with a device that’s installed between the sleepers on a track, and as the train passes overhead, the wind drives a turbine to generate electricity.
The T-box devices could be placed along railway or subway lines, and make good use of an otherwise wasted resource.
Unlike innovations such as the Solar Roadways project and Solar Wind concept, the T-box device wouldn’t have to depend on a natural energy source, but instead one that is produced as a consequence of human activity. China‘s Jiang and Italy’s Luparini reckon that about 150 of these devices could be installed along a kilometer (0.62 miles) of track and as a train speeds along, the turbines inside the device would generate electricity.
The designers say that the turbine is based on models produced by Hetronix, although the blades are obviously designed to rotate about a central axis within the cylinder housing. Much of the T-box would be below ground level with only the vent showing, and even though the wind produced by passing trains may only come in short bursts, installing them along a busy route should result in a decent amount of energy being produced.
Of course, keeping these babies clean and safe could be a problem. In addition to the dust and debris kicked up as the train speeds along or grime and grease deposits escaping from underneath, protecting such shiny boxes from the destructive hands of vandals could prove somewhat tiresome.
However, it’s an appealing concept with huge potential for further development. The T-box design took silver in last year’s Lite-On awards and was exhibited in Xuexue Institute, Taipei during the summer.
Have a look at the Lite-On presentation video and see what you think:
Turbine company Vestas recently revealed a 7 MW offshore wind turbine design called the V164 that has three 80-meter-long blades and is 187 meters tall. The sweep area of the turbine will be 21,124 square meters. The V164 will generate 30 percent more energy per ton than current turbines and the power needed to produce the turbines themselves will be paid back in 10 months of use. The V164 could be built sometime next year.
California-based turbine company Clipper is working on a 10 MW turbine called the Britannia, which they plan to unveil in 2012, while Norwegian company Sway is working on a floating turbine of the same size.
One of the advantages to these super-sized turbines is construction costs. A large part of the cost of an offshore wind farm comes from the underwater foundations that support the turbines, so if you can generate more power from a single turbine, then you reduce the amount of foundations you need. Also, it allows for an easier scaling up of wind farm energy output by adding a few larger turbines rather than a lot of smaller ones.
A new study published in the journal Energy Policy says that we could achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, and not just U.S., but the world. The study says that we have access to all the necessary technology, but strong political would have to exist for it to happen.
So, how can we get to 100 percent renewables by 2030? Well, to be exact, the study says we’ll need:
- four million 5 MW wind turbines,
- 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar PV systems,
- 90,000 300 MW solar power plants (including PV and concentrated solar), and
- a smattering of geothermal, wave and tidal power plants.
The U.S. Coast Guard has set a goal of a net zero carbon footprint for housing at their Southwest Harbor Base in Maine. The base is using solar panels, solar hot water heaters and now a new wind turbine is under installation for their energy needs.