by Genevieve Kules
The offshore wind farm industry appears to be growing despite the current political disinclination towards environmentally friendly energy initiatives. In 2016 Deepwater Wind created the US’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island’s Block Island consisting of five turbines. In January of 2017 Deepwater Wind submitted permits for approval of fifteen turbines off the coast of Long Island, NY. This could only be the start for the construction of over 200 turbines nearby.
Offshore wind farms are far more prominent in Europe, and China has a wind farm with enough turbines to power a small country, but lack of buyers has left many of those turbines unused.
Now, in the United States, offshore wind farms could be a promising energy resource. Many large oil corporations have invested in wind energy and Google says their data centers and offices will be completely run on renewable energy in 2017.
The majority of opponents to offshore wind farms have been citizens interested in protecting their ocean views, but I would imagine the farms will also have an impact on marine life and bird migration. They have the potential to interrupt the fishing and seafood industries as well as high maintenance costs requiring boats and multiple people to fix even the small problems. Though still an important factor to consider, this cost could boost the boating industry and create quite a few jobs. Wind in general is a fairly good source of energy because of its relatively low and consistent monetary cost (at times less than fossil fuels) and its direct production of electricity with no need for processing. Even within this political climate, perhaps wind will take the lead on energy initiatives in the coming years.
Cardwell, Diane. “Off Long Island, Wind Power Tests the Waters.” New York Times. N.p., 21 Jan. 2017. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/business/energy-environment/offshore-wind-energy-long-island.html>.
“Block Island Wind Farm.” Deepwater Wind. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <http://dwwind.com/project/block-island-wind-farm/>.
Daniels, Lisa Jan 16 2015 9. “Pros & Cons of Wind Energy.” Windustry. N.p., 16 Jan. 2015. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <http://www.windustry.org/pros_cons_wind_energy>.
Watch, National Wind. “Problems with Offshore Wind Farms Not worth It.” National Wind Watch. N.p., 21 Apr. 2011. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/04/21/problems-with-offshore-wind-farms-not-worth-it/>.