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the game changes if the canals allow shipping to other Great Lakes, because turbines will not come in through the St. Lawrence.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
I think the Detroit River is around 500m wide at its narrowest, so I get the impression that largish ships have no trouble between Erie, Huron, and Michigan. There are locks connecting Huron to Superior, which could act as a bottleneck similar to the St. Lawrence ... I don't know the capacity of the Soo Locks off the top of my head.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
Lake shipping is not a problem. Minimum depths are usually more than 26 feet in harbors/Welland Canal/and especially the Sault (Soo) Locks. The Sault locks were built for massive shipments of bulk commodities like iron ore, limestone, cement, coal and grain. Lake ore freights are typically over 1000 feet long, but some of the smaller 700 ft ones (Edmund Fitzgerald fame) also haul ore. There are even some smallish grain freighters only 500 ft in length.
Oswego is a small town in NY on lake Ontario. When Vestas was delivering the 198 V82 units for what eventually was named the Maple Ridge wind farm, they used that tiny port quite a lot - all major parts were delivered to Oswego by ship - towers, blades and nacelles (and probably a lot of concrete, too. The same goes for many of the turbines installed along the Lake Huron shoreline - ship delivery to either at Sarnia, Kincardine or especially Owen Sound. It's a natural.
Of course, the real answer is the wind potential is often a function of what price you can get for the electricity. Trying to compete with an old polluting coal burner like the one near Ludington is hopeless (less than 4 c/kw-hr production cost). That's a big hurdle to get over. States like Michigan are pretty hooked on supercheap coal based electricity. Besides, Michigan is over 180 meters above sealevel - raising ocean waters by 20 to 40 meters is not immediately their problem......
Anyway, another source of information on Great Lakes wind potential can be found at http://www.greengold.org/wind/engineer.html ---> "A Great Potential". For 0 to 20 meters, maximum potential is about 150 GW, and for the 0 to 40 meter depths, about 250 GW. It's definitely enough to power up the US North Coast/Canadian South Coast.
One of these days I should update it.
So, lets split the difference and say there is 30,000 km^2 of usable Michigan area for the Big Cold One. At 8 MW delivered per km^2 (Horns Rev value, adjusted for the lower wind speed). There's 240 GW of average output all by itself - or about 50% of the entire US demand. Of course, this is deep water foundations here (in some cases, over 400 meters), and it is cold and not very friendly waters (one (and perhaps 2) of Jacques Cousteau's sons died in these waters), so its is not a trivial matter like, say, Lake St Clair, which has lower winds but an average depth of 6 meters.
And the Michigan UP is a great place to store electricity via pumped water, especially in the Western part - lots of 500 to 1000 ft drops, and largely uninhabited. That same goes for a lot of the Wisconsin and Ontario coastal areas (maybe only 300 feet for Ontario, but that encompasses a LOT of area. The best storage site would probably be Northern Minnesota - the Mesabi Iron Range, for example.
These could easily store the peak supply for the Chicago-Milwaukee-Minneapolis-St Paul-Detroit and Cleveland regions. Just add HVDC and away you go, although it's best to distribute the pumped hydro in a more dispersed patter, But still, Lake Superior could be the battery for much of the Midwest US, pumped hydro speaking. And I bet it would require a lot of employment to do that...cool.
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