Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Offshore Wind a 'Mixed Bag'

22.10.2010
Strong Md. Potential, But Significant Hurdles To Overcome

Offshore wind power offers a feasible way for Maryland to help meet its renewable energy goals, but presents some economic and political hurdles, concludes a new study by the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER).

Maryland Offshore Wind Development, is the most in-depth feasibility assessment to date of developing and operating wind farms in Maryland's Atlantic coastal waters, the researchers say.

Among the study's key findings, offshore wind development will have to address two serious hurdles to move forward:

Likely interference with the NASA Wallops radar installation, as well as military operations;

Inadequate transmission facilities on Maryland's Eastern Shore that would raise the cost of moving the energy produced to the utility grids; this could be accomplished most economically in Delaware.

"Offshore wind is not a slam dunk for Maryland, but the potential remains very strong," says principal investigator Matthias Ruth, a University of Maryland public policy professor and CIER director. "It's economically feasible and environmentally advantageous, but will require some tough trade-offs, compromise and collaboration between public and private sectors."

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Last spring, Maryland officials notified the U.S. Department of Interior of potential interest in wind turbine development in federal waters (12 to 40 miles) off the Maryland coast, the researchers explain.

Subsequently, the Maryland Energy Administration, with input from the Department of Natural Resources, commissioned the CIER study, including an economic comparison of the relative merits of shallow vs. deep water locations for the turbines.

Ruth adds that recent developments since the report's completion may add to the potential benefits of offshore wind:

Uncertainty surrounding development of a new nuclear reactor in Calvert County (Calvert Cliffs), which he says makes it more important to consider other potential renewable sources of electric power, including offshore wind.

Proposal by a Google-led investment group could enhance prospects for distributing electricity generated by Maryland offshore wind farms, he says. The Google group would create a transmission network connecting such facilities at various points along the eastern seaboard.

OVERALL ASSESSMENT

"The technology is known and proven, especially in Europe, to be clean and cost-effective," Ruth concludes. "Compared to any alternative, this is a low risk addition to our energy portfolio."

"The impediments are not technical, they are institutional," adds co-investigator Andrew Blohm, a CIER researcher. Ultimately, overcoming the hurdles will require close collaboration between Maryland, Delaware and the federal government."

SPECIFIC FINDINGS

Meeting State Energy Targets: The study finds that offshore wind holds the potential to help Maryland meet both expected increases in electricity demand and renewable energy targets set by the legislature six years ago. Under these standards, one-fifth of the electricity sold in the state by 2022 must come from renewable sources.

"Not only would offshore wind development help Maryland meet its renewable energy goals, but it would also provide ancillary benefits, such as jobs and industry development, and further position the state as an environmental first mover," Ruth says.

Interconnecting with the Utility Grid: Delivering energy produced by wind turbines in Maryland waters to the electric utility grid could be accomplished most economically in Delaware. Previous studies found that connecting to the grid near Ocean City, Md. would cost an estimated ten times more than at Bethany Beach, De. - about $200 million vs. $20 million.

"A difference of only twenty miles raises costs ten-fold," Blohm explains . "On the Delmarva Peninsula, the Delaware side of the state line has a more fully developed, and in this case, a more strategically located electric transmission system than Maryland's Eastern Shore."

While this does not prevent placement of offshore wind facilities in Maryland waters, it does complicate the interconnection process and may require a more regional approach to development, Blohm adds.

Radar and Military Interference: Of the mid-Atlantic radar facilities that might experience interference from the turbines, "the potential for diminished radar functionality exists at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility," the study reports. This is used by several agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA and the U.S. Navy.

"It's a huge hurdle, but this does not have to be a make-or-break issue." says co-investigator Sean Williamson, a CIER researcher. "Collaboration with the U.S. military and other users could reconcile any conflicts - if the parties are willing to compromise."

Additional conflict with U.S. military operations is likely to involve mobile radar units on planes and ships, as well as flight-testing, training exercises and munitions deployment.

Placing Turbines in Shallow vs. Deep Waters: The overall cost of developing and operating wind turbines in shallow or in deep waters off Maryland's coast would be about the same - roughly $1,850 per kilowatt, the study finds.

"Turbines in deeper waters may be better positioned to capture more wind energy, but transmission costs are higher," adds co-investigator Yohan Shim, a CIER researcher. Ultimately, the study finds that either location would be about the same in terms of economic feasibility.

CIER - SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR TO THE STATE

The Center for Integrative Environmental Research(CIER) at the University of Maryland has served as the state's scientific advisor on a series of environmental-economic policy analyses. CIER addresses complex environmental challenges through research that explores the dynamic interactions among environmental, economic and social forces and stimulates active dialogue with stakeholders, researchers and decision makers.

The University of Maryland, the region's largest public research university, provides Maryland with education and research services statewide, supporting its economic and social well being.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Matthias Ruth, CIER
Principal Investigator
202-701-6484 (cell)
mruth1@umd.edu
Andrew Blohm, CIER Co-researcher
(Interconnection, policy environment, economic modeling)
301-405-8770
andymd26@umd.edu
Sean Williamson, CIER Co-researcher
(Radar interference, military operations, policy environment)
301-405-9436
srw46@umd.edu
Neil Tickner
University of Maryland Communications
301-405-4622
ntickner@umd.edu

Neil Tickner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umd.edu
http://newsdesk.umd.edu/vibrant/release.cfm?ArticleID=2259

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>