Wednesday, December 01, 2010

N.C. a 'prime location' for offshore wind energy?

A report from the National Wildlife Federation identifies North Carolina as a "prime location" for offshore wind turbines that produce electricity -- amounting to about one-fifth the East Coast's potential wind energy production. The report says the region's relatively shallow waters make it a prime spot for wind energy, and offers the opinion that wind projects on our coast could create up to 20,000 manufacturing jobs.

But, and this is a very big but, there are data gaps in the potential environmental impact that must be researched. The experience with offshore wind farms in Europe suggest few long-term environmental impacts, but more needs to be known to determine whether the same would prevail on the East Coast. Here's a link to the report:
The report, Offshore Wind in the Atlantic: Growing Momentum for Jobs, Energy Independence, Clean Air, and Wildlife Protection, makes these observations:

Every state with significant offshore wind resources from Maine to Georgia has some taken some steps forward on offshore wind. Northern states (Maine to Maryland) have the most advanced projects while Southern states (Virginia to Georgia) are quickly mobilizing on a series of projects. See detailed chart and state profiles.

The Atlantic’s shallow water characteristics combined with excellent wind speed make it an ideal location for offshore wind farms. 93 percent of offshore wind projects worldwide are in shallow waters (zero to 30 meters deep). Close to half of the United States’ shallow water offshore wind is along the Atlantic coast.

While the most extensive European study concluded that offshore wind farms do not appear to have long-term or large-scale ecological impacts, major data gaps for the Atlantic Ocean still exist and site-specific impacts need to be evaluated. A coordinated, comprehensive, and well-funded effort is needed to address these gaps and improve the permitting process.

The report was released along the coast today in conjunction with many national and state partners including environmental, sportsmen, labor, and business organizations. These groups call on the federal government to take the following steps:

--Improve the offshore wind permitting process,

--Identify ideal, high priority sites with limited resource conflicts off of the Atlantic for quick and thorough permitting,

--Invest in and speed research of offshore wind technology and environmental impacts,

--Coordinate planning with existing infrastructure and industries such as ports and fishing.


therestofthestory said...

--Identify ideal, high priority sites with limited resource conflicts off of the Atlantic for quick and thorough permitting,

Ha, ha, ha. Okay I found the punch line in this joke. I knew something was askew with NWF pushing something that did not relate how to get us back to our caves quicker.

Of course these groups would not be confused by facts or the laws of physics.

Ally said...

It's about time! So glad that NC is finally open to exploring this method of energy.

Anonymous said...

Here in the Piedmont, solar panels on people's roofs would be much more effective. This is a very ideal place for solar panels because we have many sunny days and we are at pretty southerly latitude meaning the sun's rays are pretty intense here.

Makers of the panels need to start mass-manufacturing more of them to majorly bring the price down.

Anonymous said...

One big negative to wind farms.... I have heard that they generate a lot of 'noise pollution'. Think of a constantly landing / taking off airplanes... could get annoying to any residents and also scare away the wildlife.

Anonymous said...

Propoganda by left wing hacks. The Observer does a great disservice to Charlotte by not offering a complete picture of the "green" power hoax. Please, most of us crave balanced journalism

freddy said...

This is a no-brainer. Any energy we can get from renewable, basically free sources makes us that much less reliant on oil, gas, and coal. They should be exploring tidal power off the coast as well. Those facilites could be largely underwater and unseen.

But those same oil, gas, and coal companies spend large amounts of money making sure these new energy sources are

1) Discredited for as long as possible.
2) Face formidable odds getting permits and start-up capital.
3) Make sure politicians know who's buttering their bread, and paying for the right to do so.

In spite of those long odds, you see these vital projects limping ahead. The trick is to make the public understand how vital clean energy is. It's not just those reviled environmentalists.

Whoever leads in this emerging industry will lead the world economy in the 21st century. THe United States is uniquly positioned to do so, but we're already falling behind countries such as China and Germany who have sunk considerable investment into renewable energy research and development. You'd think the conservative establishment, long a defender of the status quo, would get behind that effort, even if it angers the oil industry. It's time to face the future, gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

"Close to half of the United States’ shallow water offshore wind is along the Atlantic coast."

And let me guess, the other half is the Pacific ocean on the other side of the country, ie: the other "almost half" of the country's shoreline. lol