Obama Interior Dept: Full steam ahead with the offshore wind farms

posted at 6:01 pm on November 30, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

So, the Department of Interior‘s plans to develop solar projects on public land — a.k.a., on public assets that the government is disallowing from being put to more productive uses — against which I’ve so often railed?

Welcome to my nightmare. The WSJ reports:

The U.S. will offer up federal acreage off the coasts of Virginia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for offshore wind farms during the first half of 2013 the Interior Department said Friday.

The competitive lease sales will be the first held under an Obama administration initiative to fast-track permitting for offshore wind farms. None of the expensive projects have been built yet in the U.S.

The leases would grant wind-development rights in about 277,550 acres, though the winning bidders would still have to clear additional environmental reviews and secure financing.

It isn’t that I have anything against the federal government leasing areas to private companies for efficient and profitable uses — it’s that wind has never been competitive without the ridiculously generous amount of federal ‘help’ it receives. For years now, the wind industry has repeatedly failed to demonstrate that it can do anything productive on its own merits, which is why wind advocates are flipping out about the potential loss of their precious production tax credit. Without it, it’s likely to be curtains for the industry as it is now (which would actually be a good thing for wind, because subsidies do nothing to encourage competition and price efficiency, but I digress). The AP has more:

The leases for the two areas, which total more than 430 square miles, will be sold next year, the Department of Interior and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.

“Wind energy along the Atlantic holds enormous potential, and today we are moving closer to tapping into this massive domestic energy resource to create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a written statement. …

There are no offshore wind farms in the United States, although several are already in development off Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware.

The problem, Secretary Salazar, is that the jobs that the government will ostensibly create from fast-tracking these endeavors do not really contribute to economic growth because they only exist at the mercy of the government’s largesse — as President Obama has admitted repeatedly, these jobs would go away without their accompanying subsidies.

But hey, by all means — forward!


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L.i.B.

davidk on November 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Bust

Schadenfreude on November 30, 2012 at 6:06 PM

as President Obama has admitted repeatedly, these jobs would go away without their accompanying subsidies

1. Replace it with subsidized, marketplace-unsustainable marshmallow.

2. MAKE THE ORIGINAL MARSHMALLOW ILLEGAL.

When you see 1 going on, look for 2! You are looking at the cheapest energy available — when they are finished.

See topic, “Light Bulb.”

Apologies for digging up and beating this horse again. It’s just that, unlike the Romney debacle, I’m right about this.

Axe on November 30, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Bust

Schadenfreude on November 30, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Busted.

http://tomroberson.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/windmill-fire-16.jpeg

JellyToast on November 30, 2012 at 6:13 PM

One other thing: these people were falling all over themselves complaining about how awfully unsightly off-shore oil rigs are and how they destroy the view and break up the horizon line of the ocean.

Will they now also complain about these enormous wind turbines that will accomplish the same thing?

Oh no, those are so beautiful the way they are lined up and such…/

NapaConservative on November 30, 2012 at 6:18 PM

There are just no words. My disgust for the 52% of voters who re-elected this regime keeps growing. They are truly the dumb masses of the US. Yeah, I know they couldn’t believe W got re-elected, but really, that was only because it postponed their statist dreams of absolute control and the ability to get the government to take more from those who work.

AZfederalist on November 30, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Short anybody involved… this is no way to deploy capital and expect its return…

phreshone on November 30, 2012 at 6:20 PM

I’ve always beleived that this country needed some sort of a reset. Like hitting the clear button and starting all over again.

Maybe reelecting this moron for a second term, and the damage he’ll bring with him, might just be the catalyst for that reset.

I can dream.

NapaConservative on November 30, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Perfect cover for the operators. Hurricane? Gov’t funds! Crushing tides? Gov’t funds! Moby Dick ate my turbines? Gov’t funds! What is not to like?

Limerick on November 30, 2012 at 6:26 PM

I wonder what a CAT1 Hurricane will do to a wind farm, never mind a CAT2, or CAT3 in the Atlantic.

Better not think about having a wind farm in the Gulf, then we’d have to think of a CAT4 or CAT5 or even a real super storm like a CAT5+ Camille.

Sustained 180mph winds like Camille hitting a wind farm would be a sight to see!

prkw on November 30, 2012 at 6:27 PM

So let me get this straight… we don’t want to drill in ANWR because it’s a preserve out in the middle of nowhere… but unsightly windfarms off my East Coast is somehow ok?!

onetrickpony on November 30, 2012 at 6:27 PM

The U.S. will offer up federal acreage off the coasts of Virginia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for offshore wind farms during the first half of 2013 the Interior Department said Friday.

Will. Not. Happen. Any. Time. Soon.

They are not going to give up their nice views of the ocean and all of the noise these turbines make. After the word gets out about how many birds are killed by these things, PETA will go on the rampage.

JPeterman on November 30, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Not to mention disaster-prone, inefficient, and a waste of tax dollars…

onetrickpony on November 30, 2012 at 6:29 PM

What about the Kennedys??? Will they have their view spoiled by The King?

The costs of building and maintaining these offshore farms have been called into question in the Netherlands, for one.

But, pay no mind, we mean well!

PattyJ on November 30, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Or, will PETA be as mysteriously absent as Code Pink was during Libyan kinetic action.

NapaConservative on November 30, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Knowing our grand Gov’t they will be made in China to supply China.

Limerick on November 30, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Sea Gulls hardest hit. Crank up the bird blenders.

RadClown on November 30, 2012 at 6:35 PM

There are no offshore wind farms in the United States, although several are already in development off Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware.

you’d think Hurricane Sandy would have fixed this.

elowe on November 30, 2012 at 6:35 PM

I’ve always beleived that this country needed some sort of a reset. Like hitting the clear button and starting all over again.

Maybe reelecting this moron for a second term, and the damage he’ll bring with him, might just be the catalyst for that reset.

I can dream.

NapaConservative on November 30, 2012 at 6:22 PM

I think you’re right..we need a crash to hit the bottom to rebuild…

Tim Zank on November 30, 2012 at 6:39 PM

The costs of building and maintaining these offshore farms have been called into question in the Netherlands, for one.

PattyJ on November 30, 2012 at 6:30 PM

And Germany, and Sweden, and Norway, not to mention the logistical nightmare they create for ships/freighters.

JPeterman on November 30, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Somebody will file a suit on behalf of the wind for labor exploitation.

Limerick on November 30, 2012 at 6:40 PM

What about the Kennedys??? Will they have their view spoiled by The King?

PattyJ on November 30, 2012 at 6:30 PM

I would support windmills near the Mass. coast just force the Kennedys to look at them.

Bigfoot on November 30, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Put a turbine in every American pair of pants. Let’s harness all that lost energy!

Limerick on November 30, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Awww… the federal government wants lots of new off-shore bird grinders! Isn’t that sweet? They are SOOOOO eco-friendly killing only birds stupid enough to get close to them… and they only have bird brains… see it as evolution in action by the US federal government!

You know, if this energy form was so competitive then it wouldn’t need subsidies.

Ditto that for ethanol… which wouldn’t need mandates, either, since it would be so great all on its lonesome.

And solar power… can you say Solyndra? Light Squared? Or any of the couple of dozen solar crony business scams?

ajacksonian on November 30, 2012 at 6:46 PM

wind provides 2% of our electricity

if you drive a volt, you’re burning coal

Slade73 on November 30, 2012 at 6:47 PM

They are not going to give up their nice views of the ocean and all of the noise these turbines make. After the word gets out about how many birds are killed by these things, PETA will go on the rampage.

JPeterman on November 30, 2012 at 6:28 PM

So no offshore drilling or wind farms. Win win for Jugears as his peasants descend into third world status.

AZfederalist on November 30, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Hmmmm……..anyone told the Kennedy’s that their Hyannis Port ocean view is about to be downgraded?

And BTW, has “The Smartest Man in the World” figured out how he’s going to stop CORROSION on all those electronic parts that will be surrounded by salty ocean air?

GarandFan on November 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Obama moving jobs off-shore!

bernverdnardo1 on November 30, 2012 at 6:56 PM

GarandFan on November 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Gore is working on it.

Limerick on November 30, 2012 at 6:57 PM

what happened to the great fuel source of tomorrow – algae?

Slade73 on November 30, 2012 at 6:57 PM

And BTW, has “The Smartest Man in the World” figured out how he’s going to stop CORROSION on all those electronic parts that will be surrounded by salty ocean air?

GarandFan on November 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Probably not. Since they didn’t consider what would happen in cold weather, why would you think they would think through the impacts of a maritime environment? After all, it’s not like it’s their money at stake here.

AZfederalist on November 30, 2012 at 7:00 PM

When I referred to him here several years ago as “The DOTUS”……how many here laughed at that declaration?

I wish I had been wrong.

PappyD61 on November 30, 2012 at 7:00 PM

It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work.

The only way to make any money out of a wind turbine is to sell the electricity back, with a heavy subsidy via the tax payer .

Repeat: It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work.

You could cover Britain in wind farms and it still wouldn’t produce enough electricity .

The long game plan is to smaller supply = less consumption .

EnglishRogue on November 30, 2012 at 7:02 PM

The long game plan is to smaller reduce the supply of electricity = less consumption .

EnglishRogue on November 30, 2012 at 7:02 PM

EnglishRogue on November 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM

I used to feel patriotic resentment toward these hypocritical twerps for such a contrived piece fake-rage. Five years later I realize they were exactly right, though not in the way they intended.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ee_uujKuJMI

In five years this country has become unrecognizable.

AmeriCuda on November 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM

And BTW, has “The Smartest Man in the World” figured out how he’s going to stop CORROSION on all those electronic parts that will be surrounded by salty ocean air?GarandFan on November 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Yes, its going to start falling apart in about 2 weeks. But thats the brilliant part about building them there, its all part of the jobs plan!

bernverdnardo1 on November 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Yeah we tried this once in Mass, ol’ Drowner pulled a NIMBY because it would ruin his view and the whole mess disappeared.

Bishop on November 30, 2012 at 7:21 PM

what happened to the great fuel source of tomorrow – algae?

Slade73 on November 30, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Algae is now a federally protected species under the “Protist Protection Act of 2011″, you bigot.

Bishop on November 30, 2012 at 7:24 PM

T. Boone Pickens, who knows a little bit about energy production, threw in the towel on wind a little while ago.

Any private investor that gets behind this little initiative had better be sure they know where all the bodies are buried for every senior figure in government.

CorporatePiggy on November 30, 2012 at 7:41 PM

The long game plan is to smaller reduce the supply of electricity = less consumption .

EnglishRogue on November 30, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Yes. Reduce electricity supply –> increase prices –> reduce consumption. Then give energy coupons to favored constituencies, much like food stamps, to redistribute wealth and build partisan dependency, promoting permanent Democrat majority.

petefrt on November 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Obama Interior Dept: Full steam ahead with the offshore wind farms

Then get started by relocating these monstrosities.

rukiddingme on November 30, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Resist We Much on November 30, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Affordable, reliable energy from wind, solar and unicorn farts.

There’s a fool born every day. Give them cake. Bus them to the polls every four years and the future is yours to control.

petefrt on November 30, 2012 at 8:59 PM

What happens when a ship full of people runs into one of them?

PattyJ on November 30, 2012 at 10:09 PM

…this is criminal! Period!

KOOLAID2 on November 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM

And BTW, has “The Smartest Man in the World” figured out how he’s going to stop CORROSION on all those electronic parts that will be surrounded by salty ocean air?GarandFan on November 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Yes, its going to start falling apart in about 2 weeks. But thats the brilliant part about building them there, its all part of the jobs plan!

bernverdnardo1 on November 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Maybe not two weeks, but a marine environment is absolutely brutal on materials. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that whenever you tack the word “marine” to a project, you need to add three zeros to your cost estimate. If it costs $1,000 onshore, it will cost $1,000,000 offshore.

ss396 on November 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM

The wind off our shores is really good.

I am for the permitting, but not one penny of taxpayer money for credits, loan backing, storm insurance — no taxpayer funding whatsoever, just royalty payments on the energy generated 11

KenInIL on November 30, 2012 at 10:36 PM

but a marine environment is absolutely brutal on materials. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that whenever you tack the word “marine” to a project, you need to add three zeros to your cost estimate. If it costs $1,000 onshore, it will cost $1,000,000 offshore.

ss396 on November 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM

Yep. That salt fog environment is absolutely brutal. That’s why Navy stuff is so expensive. Having to survive in that environment requires significant engineering planning.

AZfederalist on November 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Yes. Reduce electricity supply –> increase prices –> reduce consumption. Then give energy coupons to favored constituencies, much like food stamps, to redistribute wealth and build partisan dependency, promoting permanent Democrat majority.

petefrt on November 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

You’re seeing the beginning of it here in Britain . They tools of the State have already screwed the country up with ‘low carbon emission’ targets and their pursuit ‘cleaner’ energy means more money being chucked at the suck fund known as ‘Wind Energy’ .

Barstewards!

EnglishRogue on November 30, 2012 at 10:43 PM

I’ve posted this before. And I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to wind/solar related topics. But I still find there are very few people who truly get density and capacity factor (even disappointingly few conservatives get this).

The Westinghouse A4W is one of the smallest nuclear reactors in common use (there are two A4W’s in each Nimitz class Aircraft carrier). It has an output of 180 megawatts, a weight of nearly 300 tons and a capacity factor of 90% or more.

The Enercon E-126 is the worlds largest wind turbine. It weighs more than 6000 tons, has a peak output of 7 megawatts and a capacity factor of around 25%.

To build enough E-126s to match the nameplate capacity of one A4W, you’d need more than 150,000 tons of raw materials versus the less than 300 for the reactor. If you add capacity factor to the equation, the wind turbines jump to well over half a million tons of raw materials (with the reactor staying stuck at ~300).

And those are the numbers for just a small shipborne reactor.

Now these idiots want to take the massive amount of finances, materials and resources and multiply the cost by planting windmills in the ocean (construction and maintenance costs go through the roof when you can no longer simply truck materials and work crews to the site)?

Don’t take my word for this though. Run the numbers yourself with the Nuclear to Wind Calculator.

Alberta_Patriot on November 30, 2012 at 11:21 PM

I don’t mind moving ahead with offshore wind. If there are companies that want to make the investment, fine, let them do it. But we should also be pursuing offshore oil and gas. There is a ton of it out there and we should be harvesting it asap for jobs and energy security reasons. It’s a total no brainer.

dczombie on November 30, 2012 at 11:45 PM

I have an idea – put four wind turbines on each oil rig. That way, when they don’t allow the oil rig leases, when the liberals don’t allow the oil rigs to drill, you can ask them what the they have against the wind turbines. :) :) :)

Theophile on December 1, 2012 at 12:26 AM

The Westinghouse A4W is one of the smallest nuclear reactors in common use (there are two A4W’s in each Nimitz class Aircraft carrier). It has an output of 180 megawatts, a weight of nearly 300 tons and a capacity factor of 90% or more.

Alberta_Patriot on November 30, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Ok, you’re on the right track here but there is a slight problem with your numbers. That 180 rating for the Nimitz reactors is in thermal megawatts not electrical output. Don’t know the exact number for the A4W but efficiency would be about 32% so that 180 thermal megawatts would equate to about 57 megawatts electrical.

Personally I wouldn’t use a Naval reactor for a comparison like this because given the cost of those reactors you’re talking about some very expensive megawatts. Much better to use civilian reactor numbers.

Oldnuke on December 1, 2012 at 9:51 AM

PETA (Perfectly Edible Tasty Animals)will be most displeased with the slaughter of birds.

Decoski on December 1, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Ooops, correction to my 9:51 post. That 180 number for the A4W would be for the equivalent electrical output. The thermal output for the A4W reactor is 550 megawatts.

Oldnuke on December 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

PETA (Perfectly Edible Tasty Animals)will be most displeased with the slaughter of birds.

Decoski on December 1, 2012 at 9:57 AM

No they won’t.

Here in central New Hampshire, we have a new smaller (24 turbine) wind farm that is supposed to go online next month.

It was constructed, without any PETA or Appalachian Mountain Club or Sierra Club protests, directly across a narrow valley from one of the only Peregrine Falcon nesting sites in the entire state.

The towers are 400 feet tall. Now that the leaves are off the trees, I can actually see the flashing lights atop 2 of the turbines at night, and I live 5 towns and 25 miles to the east.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Didn’t I read these wind generators kill hundreds of thousands of endangered birds and fishes?

They leak oil too.

dogsoldier on December 1, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Ok, you’re on the right track here but there is a slight problem with your numbers. That 180 rating for the Nimitz reactors is in thermal megawatts not electrical output. Don’t know the exact number for the A4W but efficiency would be about 32% so that 180 thermal megawatts would equate to about 57 megawatts electrical.

Wikipedia puts the A4W at 550 MWth, I divided by three and came up with 183.3333~ MWe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A4W_reactor

If wikipedia is wrong (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was) then by all means, please give me a more accurate source (or at least one as accurate as you are allowed to give).

Personally I wouldn’t use a Naval reactor for a comparison like this because given the cost of those reactors you’re talking about some very expensive megawatts. Much better to use civilian reactor numbers.

Oldnuke on December 1, 2012 at 9:51 AM

I’m well aware that naval reactors are unique creatures in comparison to their civilian utility cousins. But I used the A4W because there are numerous examples in active service (given the lack of standardization in the nuclear industry, the A4W with 20 units in service is probably one of the most common types) and in a comparison between a small reactor and a BIG wind turbine, nuclear still blows wind power away (please forgive the pun).

Also, reactors of similar size and output to US naval reactors (eg. Toshiba’s 4S reactor and Babcock & Wilcox’s mPower SMR) have been getting a lot of buzz amongst the nuclear community.

Alberta_Patriot on December 1, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Ooops, correction to my 9:51 post. That 180 number for the A4W would be for the equivalent electrical output. The thermal output for the A4W reactor is 550 megawatts.

Oldnuke on December 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Correction to my post immediately above, your correction noted.

Alberta_Patriot on December 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM

The towers are 400 feet tall. Now that the leaves are off the trees, I can actually see the flashing lights atop 2 of the turbines at night, and I live 5 towns and 25 miles to the east.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

We need to start collecting photos of the birds that get killed and post them.

dogsoldier on December 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Much better to use civilian reactor numbers.

Oldnuke on December 1, 2012 at 9:51 AM

This is from the nuclear to wind calculator that I provided a link to in my first post (the options I selected were Westinghouse AP1000 1,117 MWe reactor, 7.3 MW E-126 wind turbine, best offshore placement and sodium sulfur battery/load management system):

Number of Turbines Needed: 558
Approximate Cost Of Turbines: 29.41 Billion USD
Turbine Footprint: 1,116.0 acres / 446.4 hectares
Wind Farm Area: 13,392.0 acres / 5,356.8 hectares

An additional cost of 3.35 Billion USD will be required to provide for load management by sodium-sulfur battery system and static inverter plant.

Approximate Capital Cost: 32.76 Billion USD

This does not include the cost of ongoing maintenance and operations nor does it include the costs of real estate or feed lines, which may be required will add between a few million and a few hundred million USD, depending on the location and distance to existing feeds.

This represents the approximate overnight capital costs and does not include interest or finance-related expenses

When you start using utility scale reactors, the numbers get so huge that they become fodder for “Obama is secretly (publicly?) plotting to bankrupt the country” conspiracy theories.

Alberta_Patriot on December 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Another Solyndra type investment….

nazo311 on December 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

The towers are 400 feet tall. Now that the leaves are off the trees, I can actually see the flashing lights atop 2 of the turbines at night, and I live 5 towns and 25 miles to the east.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

We need to start collecting photos of the birds that get killed and post them.

dogsoldier on December 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Won’t do any good, because such bird kills will never, ever get reported in the National Democrat Media.

This same Democrat Media is also ignoring a new class action lawsuit filed in October 2012 by 60 residents of the Herkimer, NY region. Said lawsuit is against Spanish wind company Ibredola, which coincidentally also built the wind farm here in NH.

The filing alleges that the company’s new wind turbines so noisy that they are making people physically ill, and 2 of the 60 plaintiffs have not been able to sell their house. One plaintiff, a dairy farmer, also said the cows have produced less milk since the wind farm went on-line.

The formal charges are negligence, private nuisance, trespass, and product liability violations. However, this story will never be reported nationally, as the wind lobby will keep it suppressed, aided by their faithful Puppets in the Democrat Media.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2012 at 11:51 AM

When you start using utility scale reactors, the numbers get so huge that they become fodder for “Obama is secretly (publicly?) plotting to bankrupt the country” conspiracy theories.

Alberta_Patriot on December 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Yes, but they’re real numbers. I think that just highlights how foolish wind power is. It’s just not a viable option. The only thing that makes it even marginally feasible is government money propping it up.

Oldnuke on December 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM

We need to start collecting photos of the birds that get killed and post them.

Exactly. Use their methods against them.

I’m not a math person, but the Netherlands study said that in order for the turbines to keep up with demand, they would have to add about 1,000 of them in the sea…per year!

PattyJ on December 1, 2012 at 12:59 PM

The maintenance on these wind mills is forbidding and do they think it will be cheaper out on the ocean? the cheapest is the natural gas power plants. No tanks, coal piles, precipitators, smoke, or high buildings. There is an abundance of fuel at a decent price too. I guess it’s power at the outlet plug against power of the EPA.

mixplix on December 1, 2012 at 1:03 PM