United States, Denmark Unveil Big Plans for Wind Power
Here’s the thing about renewables like wind and solar that a lot of people don’t understand. The “fuel” that keeps them running is free. This does not mean that the devices we build to harvest wind and solar energy cost nothing and do not contribute to some greenhouse gas emissions. But let’s not pretend that somehow all of the concrete, steel, and piping that goes into making a thermal power plant is cheap and carbon-free.
And yes, transporting the electricity generated by renewable energies from its place of production to its place of use requires the construction of new transmission lines. But they don’t dump oil and gas into our rivers and oceans like pipelines do. Isn’t it strange how fossil fuel apologists question the need for new transmission infrastructure when it comes to electricity from renewables, but never do when it is electricity from thermal sources? One is a plague while the other is a blessing? Does that make any sense?
The central point is that once the fuel for thermal power plants is consumed, we have to go and find more. The prices of coal, oil and gas are not stable. They fluctuate constantly – sometimes dramatically – making it difficult to make long-term business decisions. The world is about to receive a hard lesson about the real cost of fossil fuel dependency this winter. With a shortage of non-natural gas, prices are expected to skyrocket. The cost of electricity in some places could double or triple as a result.
Yet the cost of sunlight never increases. It’s free and always will be. All we have to do is collect it and distribute it efficiently and humans will have all the electrical energy they could ever need.
The wind is solar
The wind is just solar energy in a different format. Think about it. Wind is the air that moves from one place to another. And what makes the air move? Temperature differences. And what causes the temperature differences? The sun. Whether it’s a breeze that fills the sails of a ship or the jets that circle the globe, the sun is the ultimate source of all air movement on Earth.
Denmark opts for the Windward Islands
Denmark has been experimenting with offshore wind power since 1991. It’s no wonder that two of the world’s largest wind companies – Vestas and Ørsted – are both Danish. For years she has been thinking about building artificial islands in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea to serve as bases for offshore wind farms. Now the government has officially sanctioned the idea. The Danish government will own 50.1% of the islands and private partners will own the rest.
The North Sea island will have a capacity of 3 GW, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of three million homes and twice the amount of energy supplied by all offshore wind turbines in Denmark today. It is also around half of Denmark’s total electricity consumption. The capacity will be phased in up to a maximum of 10 GW, which could cover the electricity consumption of 10 million homes and help further electrify Denmark and its neighboring countries.
In the Baltic Sea, the artificial island will be located offshore near the island of Bornholm. Electricity from the offshore installation will be distributed from Bornholm to the power grids of Zeeland and neighboring countries. The turbines off Bornholm will have a capacity of 2 GW, corresponding to the electricity consumption of two million households.
The decision to create the two energy islands was taken as part of the climate agreement of 22 June 2020, which was concluded by the Danish government, the Liberal Party, the Danish People’s Party, the Social Liberal Party, the Socialist People’s Party, the Red-Green Alliance, the Conservative Party, the Liberal and Alternative Alliance.
The United States Offshore Wind Initiative
Offshore wind power is popular because the equipment can be placed well offshore, where it is invisible to people ashore. We are not opposed to a multitude of poles, wires and transformers cluttering our built environment, but God forgive we have to face the sight of a spinning turbine. Eeeek! Additionally, wind speeds tend to be more stable and predictable over the ocean than they are on land, making offshore wind more reliable.
Last week, the US government announced plans for seven large offshore wind farms along both coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico. They are part of a plan by the Biden administration to create 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2030 – enough for 10 million homes. Sophisticated readers will notice that Danish authorities expect a lot of electricity to power 30 million homes, which tells you something about how much electricity an average household in the United States uses compared to households in the United States. rest of the world.
Home Secretary Deb Haaland said her department hoped to complete lease sales by 2025 for areas off the coasts of Maine, New York and the mid-Atlantic, as well as Carolinas, California, Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico. The projects could prevent around 78 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions while creating up to 77,000 jobs, according to The Guardian.
In addition to offshore wind, the Home Office is working with other federal agencies to increase renewable energy production on public lands, Haaland said, with a target of at least 25 gigawatts of energy. renewable onshore from wind and solar energy by 2025.
The government’s wind initiatives will face a host of technical and political challenges. Who will ever forget a certain ex-president telling a group of avid admirers that wind turbines “kill all birds”? Yet the same people don’t blink when offshore oil rigs (many of them are visible from land) spill millions of gallons of crude oil into the ocean, when pipelines threaten the water supply of millions of people, or when fracking makes domestic drinking water toxic. Can you say “hypocrites”, boys and girls? Yes, we knew you could.
The government is, however, taking steps to address these concerns. The DOE announced last week that it is allocating $ 11.5 million to study the risks that offshore wind development could pose to birds, bats and marine mammals. It will also monitor changes in commercial fish and marine invertebrate populations at an offshore wind farm on the east coast and spend $ 2 million for visual surveys and acoustic monitoring of marine mammals and seabirds at sites potential wind turbines on the west coast.
“In order for Americans living in coastal areas to see the benefits of offshore wind, we need to make sure that it is done carefully for the surrounding ecosystem by coexisting with fishing and marine life – and that’s exactly it. what this investment will do, “said Jennifer, Secretary of Energy. Granholm announced.
The bottom line is what is known in the industry as the discounted cost of electricity – the triple net, the absolute measure of what it costs to produce kilowatts of electricity. Water seeks its own level, nature abhors a vacuum, and businesses seek the cheapest option. Today, the LCOE of wind and solar power is lower than that of thermal generation and is getting cheaper and cheaper. And why not? The cost of fuel for renewable energies is zero. It is not much cheaper than that!
Fossil fuel enthusiasts will get excited about national security, energy independence, and the wonders of military might, but the truth is that renewables not only reduce carbon emissions, they can also boost security. national, ensure energy independence and eliminate much of the need to stand up. armies in any country and all for free. What could we expect?
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