P. Noto: Wind power for the future

As a college student who has lived in New England my whole life, I applaud the Obama administration's recent decision not to include the East Coast in its new 5-year offshore drilling plan. The East Coast has been kept off-limits to drilling for generations, and I feel it would be detrimental if that changed now.

Maine's economy, much like my home state of Rhode Island and many of the states on the East Coast, relies on the health of the ocean.

Expanded drilling would have no effect on gas prices, nor would it decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil. The only way to protect ourselves from high fuel prices and reduce our dependence on foreign oil is by increasing energy efficiency efforts in combination with the development of clean, renewable sources of energy, like offshore wind power.

As a current college senior, I am concerned with both the lack of jobs available as I graduate and the state of the environment in the future. I feel that clean energy, for example, offshore wind, is a sustainable answer to both of those issues.

I hope President Obama will continue to protect the oceans by limiting offshore oil drilling and by investing in clean renewable energy such as offshore wind power. Such actions would protect the health of the oceans, reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels and create millions of desperately needed jobs.

Patricia Noto, Lewiston

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Gary Steinberg's picture

I take it you are a dreamer and not a scientist Patricia

Your theme of defying the laws of thermodynamics here, along your youthful religious fervor of the climate computerized theories that defy reality are stunning.

Dense energy sources are needed to power modernity.

Have you ever heard of the two laws above?

How does wind trickle meet the criteria every electrical generating source must meet?

For your edification, any electric utility must meet the following, well known facts to survive.

Please ask your electrical engineering student friends you might have the below, or , do some research please Patricia.

Answer the below please concerning your savior offshore , or onshore wind for that matter.

Those who can do math know the following.

1.The source must provide large amounts of electrons (it must be dense)
2.The power must be reliable and predictable.
3.The electrons must be dispatchable (high or low amount must be generated on demand)
4.It must serve one or more grid demand elements(base load, load following and peak load).
5.The utilization of environment must be minimal and compactness is a must, or it is non-green and damaging the environment.
6.It must be economical

Patricia, please address the above.

No my dear, your pipe dream and religious fervor and snake oil wind beliefs herein cannot do any of it.

Your belief in it is pure pure BUNK and politicized nonsense to any scientist or thinking individual who can read and understand the first two laws of thermodynamics.

Dense sources of electron production support modernity.
Or perhaps you can occupy Wall Street and live w/o electricity.

Sorry, the consumer can't and won't buy the bull presented here.

30 cents a KW/h generation, for a fickle trickle of expensive non-dense sources of electricity will make your generation paupers, with no jobs.

Enjoy it if you wish, or do the basic math or understand the physics of power generation, and buy gas or hydro for Maine., or perhaps (lordy) drill offshore and really create thousands of jobs for Mainers.

 's picture

Get Real, Dreamers!

Patricia, since you are a Bates college student, I will dismiss you as simply a dreamy, idealistic, "save the planet" liberal who has no connection to the economics of the real world. We should be developing energy dense, cost competetive sources of energy through market mechanisms, not mandating heavily subsidized wind power.

Jason, if you think less than 30% capacity factor for industrial wind is efficient, you are wrong. Wind sprawl is ruining our beautiful state. As for offshore, yes, there is a steadier wind source out there, but at what cost? The monopole shallow water project in Block Island, RI using existing technology came in at 24 cents per kwh + 3.5% annual escalator built into the contract, roughly 3 times the existing wholesale kwh prices today. You can be sure developing deep water will be dramatically higher, including designing to withstand the "Storm of the Century" (Oct. 30, 31, 2001; sustained 75 mph wind & 40 foot waves). Either way (or both), taxpayers and ratepayers will get hit with totally unnecessary costs.

Energy development is best left to private sector investment. That might include natural gas off New England. It seems to me that if there is huge reserves of natural gas at Sable Island Nova Scotia the same conditions might be offshore in the Gulf of Maine. We don't know because for the last 40 years, exploratory drilling has been prohibited by the government as a knoee-jerk reaction to the Santa Barbara blow out. Shouldn't we at least find out if there are substantial enough reserves to warrent development if we are serious about energy independence? BTW, Jason, it took 5 years from drilling to production at Sable Island, not 20 years. Look it up. The entire Province of Nova Scotia has prospered because of this resource development. Imagine what that could do for Maine. Lastly, there are only 6 production platforms at Sable Island and I would rather have the energy dense natural gas resource from 6 platforms than the tens of thousands of unreliable wind turbines cluttering up the Gulf of Maine.

 's picture

nat gas

Pat... the BP debacle in the Gulf should be a reminder that whatever is being drilled for , there needs to be tight regs. and no management shortcuts or laziness. Nat gas could replace coal as power plant fuel for reduced emissions. Better fuel efficiency from autos would be better than electric golf carts with 3000 lb. batteries. We only get 29% of our oil from the Middle East, so if they shut us off we would survive.Whatever foreign oil the US does not use will be sold to China or India. Onshore wind is a travesty and waste of rare earth metals for severe impact on the environment. They are not efficient and the trans lines are super expensive. Bad idea. Offshore is more productive, but still expensive. Right now there are a lot of new coal stoves being sold in town. That is not a good sign. Maybe we should be looking at cleaning up and improving the old technology while conserving and improving weatherization before blowing billions on giant pinwheels. Have you looked at the new nuke technology? Those half century old plants are due to be shut down, maybe the new ones can be made safer?

Jason Theriault's picture

A few things:

Well, I think the current regs weren't enforced, so I'm not a fan at putting the safety of the gulf on Maine in the hands of an agency that has proven it can't handle it.

I am a fan of Wind power because of all the new technologies, it's far more efficient that other green tech and had far less downside that any other power generation. It wont melt down, it wont cause acid rain, you don't have to worry about flooding, it can't explode.

Don't get me wrong, most green sources should supplement on demand power generation like NG and nuclear. The only problem with Nuclear is that it does have much higher cost per kilowatt that other sources. I honestly think we need to throw our weight behind NG with green supplemental power until nuclear shows it can be cost effective. Hell, one of the reasons our bill is so high is we are still paying for Maine Yankee.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Let me guess. You attend

Let me guess. You attend Bates College and you'd like to change the world,as long as it doesn't happen in your back yard. Got it!!

 's picture

here we go

another NIMBY heard from. You don't want to depend on foreign oil but you don't want to depend on domestic production either. You also don't want to admit that any kind of alternative energy source is going to take 20 years to get up to speed.
What do we do in the mean time? Give me a reasonable answer that provides us with a source of sustainable energy, in any form, that will get us through until then and I'll agree that you have a point. Until then, we make do with what we have and pray that the NIMBYs don't cause our downfall while we wait.

Jason Theriault's picture

"You also don't want to admit

"You also don't want to admit that any kind of alternative energy source is going to take 20 years to get up to speed."

Any source of energy is going to take 20 years to get up to speed. Drilling will take just as long, but hopefully by then we will be heading in a different direction than oil. So opening up the East coast is a gamble with a limited payoff. And ask the fishing industry how they are doing in the Gulf of Mexico. The full damage of the Deepwater Horizon spill wont be fully known for decades.

As for wind power, it isn't as efficient as hydro, but it is closer than you would expect(onshore, not offshore). Efficiency and costs needs to be a primary concern, but it also should be the only concern.


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