Wind Power, Global Wind Day

Global Wind Day is a worldwide event that occurs annually on June 15th. It is a day for promoting wind, its power and the possibilities it holds to change our world. In honor of this annual celebration and the Edison Innovation Foundation’s strong commitment to alternative energy technologies, we offer this article on how a large amount of offshore wind generation may be collected to serve the Mid-Atlantic States, ushering in a new way to link large scale wind machines.

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Happy Global Wind Day!

Clusters of wind machines are called wind farms and they can be located on land and offshore. They harvest the wind’s energy, much like traditional farms harvest sunshine to grow crops. Offshore wind energy installations are becoming increasing popular both in Europe and the U.S., with Europe having initially led the way. Experts believe the potential for offshore wind energy generation in the Mid-Atlantic States could be more than 60,000 megawatts, and provide for thousands of jobs. Of course, getting that power efficiently and economically linked to shore-based electric power facilities is a chief concern. Now, there is a very unique way to link offshore wind machine farms to onshore load centers.

In the near future, a new DC power transmission line will be snaking its way underwater from Virginia along the coasts of  Maryland and Delaware and on into New Jersey. This 350-mile long high voltage transmission line, an electrical backbone, will be capable of delivering 6,000 megawatts of clean power to key Mid-Atlantic States-the first step in what could be a much larger project. The clean power delivered will be generated from large clusters of offshore wind turbines, far enough offshore and invisible to the eye. Putting this into perspective, 6,000 megawatts is enough to power 1.9 million homes.

This backbone project will help the four states involved achieve their goals of integrating renewable energy into their state energy master plans. This backbone makes it possible to tie the wind energy clusters together as an entire unit rather than trying to tie each cluster to a specific site at the nearest electrical connection on shore. Doing it this way also provides a convenient electrical path to help relieve utility transmission line network congestion [analogous to highway congestion at rush hours] now existing in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Happy Global Wind Day!

Key investors in this exciting project are Google, Atlantic Wind Connection, Marubeni Power International and Good Energies. The wind farms, which are separate from the backbone project, would be located 10 to 15 miles offshore, experiencing fairly constant and strong wind conditions. Construction costs of the electrical backbone itself are estimated to be $5 billion. The costs of the wind machine clusters or farms that tie into this electrical super highway would be borne by the companies that choose to build them. Should the project be scaled-up to generate 54,000 megawatts by 2030, more than 43,000 permanent operations and maintenance jobs would be created; not to mention the many, many construction and support jobs along the way as wind machines are installed. Currently, ten companies are already competing to install wind turbines to be placed along this underwater electrical backbone route.

Atlantic Wind Connection is filing and managing the necessary paperwork and applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, outlining the benefits of the massive project. An optimal path for the high voltage DC power line will be mapped. Approvals for construction will need “the nod” from a variety of federal, state, regional and local regulators. The regional national grid operator, PJM will also review the project plans.

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison on Time Magazine

Thomas Edison was a big fan of solar energy …

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.


 

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