Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hurricanes Threaten Wind Power Plans

Hurricanes deliver fatal blows to wind turbines
Gone with the wind? Hurricanes could destroy the offshore wind farms the US is planning to build in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

The US Department of Energy set a goal for the country to generate 20 per cent of its electricity from wind by 2030. One-sixth is to come from shallow offshore turbines that sit in the path of hurricanes.

Stephen Rose and colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, modelled the risk hurricanes might pose to turbines at four proposed wind farm sites. They found that nearly half of the planned turbines are likely to be destroyed over the 20-year life of the farms. Turbines shut down in high winds, but hurricane-force winds can topple them.
Maryland Gov. O'Malley is pushing offshore wind power as one of the potential saviors for Maryland. As I recall with astonishing clarity from earlier this year, hurricanes and tropical storms are a definite possibility in our area, and I wonder if a failure rate of 50% over 20 years has been factored into that policy.  I know they wouldn't be very happy if half of all nuke crashed and burned after 20 years.

1 comment:

  1. The French spoken by locals is of Norman dialect.