Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Times Magazine Looks at Bluewater Wind

Sunday's New York Times Magazine features an excellent article on Delaware's offshore Bluewater Wind project by Mark Svenvold. There are many useful passages here. Selecting a few:
[The Mid-Atlantic Bight, a] coastal region running from Massachusetts to North Carolina[,] contain[s] up to 330,000 megawatts of average electrical capacity.

That's enough, by itself, to generate roughly 70% of current U.S. electricity use.
Over time, comments to the Public Service Commission were nearly 10 to 1 in favor of the wind project. A survey conducted by the University of Delaware concluded that 91 percent of the state’s residents supported wind power offshore — even if it meant paying more per month for electricity.

This despite an anti-wind advertising campaign by the local utility.
“Wind power,” says Walt Musial of the N.R.E.L. [National Renewable Energy Laboratory], “is not a niche player. That’s something that the American public may not fully be aware of.”


Svenvold quotes two persistent critics of wind. One argues that the wind blows mostly at night "when you don't really need the electricity." Of course, you actually "really need the electricity" up until wind is meeting 100% of instantaneous electricity demand--something it is nowhere near doing in any part of the U.S. today. The second argues that natural gas is needed to "back up" wind, increasing its cost and carbon footprint. For a response to this, see my comment on Edgar Gaertner's recent article in the Wall Street Journal, which makes the same erroneous assertion.


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