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Sep 14

Mark Svengold: “Wind-Power Politics”

This great in-depth look at offshore wind power in the NYTimes Magazine (Sept. 14) tells the story of Bluewater Wind, the company that is building a huge offshore windfarm in/for Delaware.

The story is told against the larger context of the quickly evolving world of wind power, with a focus on the political forces at work behind the scenes (in the case of Bluewater Wind, the public was 90% in favor of their plan, but it was then stalled — and ultimately scaled back — by political leaders in the state).

The author, Mark Svengold, pulls together many of the threads I’ve been following about windpower into a snapshot of where things stand and where they appear to be going, including the promising potential of windpower in the U.S. Here’s a snippet:

While it’s true that wind is still a tiny part of the energy picture — just 1 percent of the total electricity portfolio in the United States and 3.3 percent in Europe — more than a quarter of the 20,000 megawatts of the world’s new wind capacity last year was installed in North America, where all the global wind-energy players have set up shop, lured by the low U.S. dollar and the high rate of returns. ….In the continental United States, resources are vast — with more than eight thousand gigawatts of potential electricity blowing overhead. “The amount of wind energy potential in this country,” says Walt Musial, a principal engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Center, “is bigger than the national grid itself.”

Of the things I’ve been reading about wind power, I’d probably recommend this article most highly because it provides a big-picture overview while telling a compelling story about a visionary company.

Read the full article here: Wind-Power Politics