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Offshore Wind Turbines

Offshore Wind Turbines

Offshore wind power refers to the construction of wind farms in bodies of water to generate electricity from wind. Siemens, RE Power and Vestas are the leading turbine suppliers for offshore wind power.

 Europe is the world leader in offshore wind power as it has 39 offshore wind farms.
Offshore Wind Turbines
Offshore Wind Turbines

Experts on climate change and related environmental issues say that offshore wind power will reduce energy imports and air pollution, reduce greenhouse gases and carbon emissions and meet renewable energy standards. The offshore wind turbines are the instruments by which the offshore wind power is used. Scientists are now saying that it’s possible to power all of the Atlantic seaboard states with offshore wind turbines.

Experts say that if you spread the wind turbines out far enough, the Atlantic seaboard will have steady and long-lasting renewable energy. And in a United Press International article, researchers from the University of Delaware and Stony Brook University said offshore wind power resources are abundant but the wind turbines are currently unable to provide long-lasting power due to natural fluctuations in wind direction and strength. But they said that it can still be accomplished by choosing locations for the turbines that take advantage of regional weather patterns and by connecting wind power generators with a shared power line.

In April 2009, the Interior Department stated that wind turbines off the U.S. coastlines could meet the country’s electricity needs. The wind in the nation’s coastal states could produce 20 percent of the power demand for these states, and the biggest potential are the Atlantic seaboard states but there is also potential for wind power in the offshore waters of California, Oregon, Washington State and Hawaii. And internationally speaking, last year General Electric announced that it will install 4 megawatt wind turbines off the coast of Norway and Sweden, and these wind farms will be the size of a football field.

Offshore Wind Farm
Offshore Wind Farm
According to a recent fact sheet from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, wind currently provides about 2.3 percent of America’s electricity. The report also stated that in recent years offshore wind turbines have become more affordable to purchase and install thanks to renewable energy tax credits from local, state and federal government as well as increased taxes on carbon in various parts of the country.

While more cities and states are turning to offshore wind turbines as a meaningful source of renewable energy and as a way to curb greenhouse gases which have a negative impact on the environment, some people don’t agree with offshore wind turbines because the people feel that these turbines take away from the charm and sometimes historic nature of their cities or states.

This was the case in Michigan recently when some of is’ residents voiced their opposition to Scandia Wind’s desire to install 50 to 100 offshore wind turbines in Lake Michigan. The residents said that these wind turbines would take away from the beauty of Lake Michigan, therefore impacting tourism in a negative way. Scandia Wind eventually left Michigan headed over to Canada where this was not an issue

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External Links – Sources:

Wired.com
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/04/wind-power-chain

Michigan Radio
http://michiganradio.org/post/west-michigan-residents-voice-opposition-offshore-wind-turbines

Los Angeles Times
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/apr/03/nation/na-energy3

Pew Center on Global Climate Change
http://www.pewclimate.org/technology/factsheet/wind