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US-DOE ANNOUNCES OFF-SHORE WIND AND HYDRO-POWER ENERGY PROJECTS

9 May 2014 

PIONEERING OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY PROTOTYPE DEMONSTRATIONS

Washington, On 7 May 2014 the US Department of Energy (US-DOE) announced the selection of three (3) pioneering offshore wind demonstrations to receive up to $47 million each over the next four (4) years to deploy innovative, grid-connected systems in federal and state waters by 2017. These projects – located off the coast of New Jersey, Oregon, and Virginia will help speed the deployment of more efficient offshore wind power technologies. In USA waters by 2017. The projects selected are:

“FISHERMEN’S ENERGY” will install five ea. 5- megawatt (Mw) direct-drive wind turbines approximately three (3) miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. This project will utilize an innovative, USA-developed “twisted-jacket foundation” that is simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install than traditional offshore wind foundations.

PRINCIPLE POWERwill install five (5) ea. 6-Mw direct-drive wind turbines approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay Oregon. The USA-developed WindFloat semi-submersible floating foundation will be installed in water more than 1,000 feet deep, demonstrating an innovative approach to “deep water wind turbine” projects and lowering costs by simplifying installation and eliminating the need for highly specialized ships.

“DOMINION VIRGINIA POWER”will install two (2) 6-Mw direct-drive wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach(an independent city located in the U.S. State of Virginia – population about 500,000, and located on the Atlantic coast ) utilizing a USA-designed twisted jacket foundation. Dominion’s project will demonstrate installation, operation and maintenance methods for wind turbines located far from shore. Additionally, the Dominion project will install and test a hurricane-resilient design.

DOE’s efforts to incentivize innovative “offshore wind technologies” support the Obama Administration’s comprehensive National Offshore Wind Strategy to develop a sustainable, world-class offshore wind industry. As part of that strategy, the DOE continues to work with partners within the government, including the Department of the Interior (DOI), to conduct further resource assessments, streamline the issuance of permits, and overcome technical and market challenges to installation, operations, and grid connection.

US-DOE REPORT FINDS POTENTIAL TO DOUBLE USA HYDROPOWER GENERATION

DOE at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory on April 29, 2014 released aNew Stream-reach Development Assessmentrenewable energy resource (green energy) assessment detailing the potential to develop new electric power generation in waterways across the United States. The report estimates that over 65,000 Mw of potential new hydropower development opportunities exist. (Just think of it! That amount of power is the equivalent output to about 55 Nuclear Power Plants ,or a heap of Coal-fired generators) more USA rivers and streams (nearly equivalent to the current USA hydropower capacity). Hydropower currently makes up 7% of total USA electricity generation, and continues to be the USA’s largest source of renewable electricity. The New Stream-reach Development Assessment” capitalizes on recent advancements in geospatial mapping (datasets), and represents the most detailed evaluation of USA hydropower potential of underutilized streams and rivers to date.

ADVANTAGE OF HYDRO-POWER is that it provides reliable “baseload” power (day and night) providing greater flexibility and diversity to the electric grid and allowing utilities to integrate other renewable sources such as wind and solar power; as such, greatly complements other green energy sources.

GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR HYDROPOWER IN USA was found in western states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming led the rest of the country in new stream-reach hydropower potential.

OUR TAKE AND COMMENTS

FOLKS, WE HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THIS APPARENTLY GREAT INITIATIVE based on past experience with government “stimulated” projects. The worst case scenario was the great “Solyndra Fiasco”, where the then new Obama administration forked out about $535 Mil on a huge solar power-plant initiative that went “belly-up” without showing any appreciable results. The G.W. Bush Administration’s intentions were great, but I fear that the contractual language left a great deal to be desired. The Contractor just kept-on milking the project, even when they had nothing to show for their efforts.

WHEN DEALING WITH CONTRACTORS, Government Contract Administrators /Agents must be made accountable for their decisions /results; That is not so hard to do if they require timelines, milestones charts, and include added incentives for timely/expedited performance, and penalty in payment for delay/failure to show results. The contractor’s song and dance is usually: Well…we are treading new grounds/waters, and prototype development is uncertain at best”, then they will seek “time and materials” (that is the pits) such terms usually produces nothing but studies and expenses by the Contractor, and his friends who get invited to the “money trough” and is an assurance of failure, remember Solyndra ? These days of financial austerity we cannot afford such  fiascos. I only wish we were party to the contract language. Then our public would know if these noble intentions are in earnest. Truth be told, our country, and the world is in great need of such green energy developments. The contractual die is already cast, I only hope it is a good one.

ANTICIPATED TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

Aside from the yet unproven turbine anchoring technical challenges, other concerns such as how do we connect wind energy to land? It will take (in the Coos Bay Oregon an 18 mile underwater cable of sufficient amperage to conduct the energy generated. Then there is the task of integrating that energy to the grid. Problem is the grid is not always accessible where needed. That challenge has stymied land-based wind turbines that are almost always far from the grids. A very similar problem can be anticipated by Hydropower developers – where to hook up to the grid. Hydropower development is simply a must because it provides power 24 hours a day (“baseline” power generation). Hydropower was our first form of power generation, and a proven winner; however, there is the “Grid”problem…

WHO SHOULD PAY FOR THE GRID? Problem is: no one sees it as their responsibility to enhance the grid for the benefit of others. Like India, we are hurt by regionalization of dissimilar interests. That challenge is why the German government found it necessary years ago to centrally require grid improvements which are already beginning to bear fruit. Of course, Germany’s land mass is a lot smaller than that of India or the USA; Even so, The USA must act now. “Green energy” brings with it the need for our party government to work together. That is not going to happen quite simply because our Republican led Congress is more interested in the tragic events of Bengazi more than 2 years ago. I find it a testament to Republican party lack of personal integrity in government. House majority Leader John Boehner will be judged very harshly by history for his obstructionism. We should start a move to erect a statue to Boehner and TX Gov Rick Perry here in Texas, where the pigeons are certain to sh-t on their head. I nominate San Antonio, TX, and promise to feed the pigeons.

Even so, we commend the Obama administration for attempting to circumvent our Washington government gridlock (pun-intended). We need this, let’s make it work. The eyes of Texas, and the world are upon us, we cannot fail! for the sake of doing all we can, both large and small, to combat global warming and air pollution. It is killing us slowly.

Your Friend in Texas,

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

P.S. – I worked for the USA Gov. as an AF contract administrator for many years.


May 9, 2014 at 12:01 AM
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