roundup: Wind power

Written by Bob McCormick on 10/05/2008 03:44:00 PM

As I’d mentioned earlier, Texas is actually an early adopter of wind power (and my school’s positioning itself well). Now comes news out of Norway that they are looking to build a floating wind turbine there. Also, CNN says that T. Boone Pickens is looking to get into wind energy as well.

However, look before you leap in investing in wind energy. FuturePundit reports that wind turbine costs are up for both offshore and onshore sites, with offshore sites being much more expensive.

As just an average guy, here’s some questions I have:

1. What would happen in a hurricane to all those offshore sites? (Granted, the situation is no different than for offshore oil rigs. And of course, onshore sites are not immune to weather problems.)

2. How is the energy generated by the windmills transmitted to the power grid? (I’m assuming some sort of AC power conversion, much like existing high-tension lines.)

3. Is there a larger issue of grid support costs? That is, the wind energy is collected out on the Great Plains but the electrical load is on the coasts – how much investment in the electrical grid is required to get the wind energy to play a significant role in offsetting the overall electrical national electrical load?

Let me know if you have any thoughts in the comments.


Related links:

Slashdot (5/27/08) Giant Floating Windmills To Launch Next Year

Slashdot (5/23/08) Oil Billionaire Building World’s Largest Wind Farm

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