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Novel Offshore Deep Water Platforms

by nb41 Fri Feb 20th, 2009 at 12:24:35 PM EST

Here is a story about a new and very nifty offshore wind platform for waters that are more than 50 meters (164 ft) deep:

http://www.nawindpower.com/e107_plugins/content/content_lt.php?content.3530

Here is the company doing this:
http://www.principlepowerinc.com/technology/windfloat.php

It will probably be demonstrated off the shore of Portugal initially (that part of the Atlantic Ocean is quite similar to the Pacific Coastline of North America, as it's really windy, and gets decently deep fast). Right now, Europe rules with respect to offshore wind.

Obviously, this will have great utility in deeper near coastal ocean waters, such as those found between Washington State and California (the Pacific gets deep really fast; the Atlantic is much shallower near shore). It will also be very useful in the Gulf of Mexico, where most of the US Southeast wind resources are located. And, in some cases (like the Gulf of Maine), there are US Atlantic applications.

But this unit, and ones like it, really would do wonders for the deeper waters in the Great Lakes. In particular, Lake Ontario comes to mind in my neck of the woods (most of Lake Erie is in the 0 to 30
meter depths, and there are established, well demonstrated and less expensive foundations for those shallower waters). This also would be great for Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, where only a small
percentage of these lakes are in the 0 to 40 meter depth. After all, the average depth of Lake Superior is 462 feet, and often deeper in its windier zones. However, there is a deep zone in Lake Erie (59
meters), which is where the most intense winds across the lake happen to be.

Lake........Ave Depth ft    m

Superior..........462'.......147 m
Ontario...........283'........86 m
Michigan..........279'........85 m
Huron.............159'........59 m
Erie..............62'.........19 m

There are about 40 million people currently residing near the Great Lakes, mostly in 5 metro regions (Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal), and the only fossil fuel resources are a bit of oil and gas in Michigan and a lot of brimstone laden coal in Illinois, with less malodorous coal in Pennsylvania. But, lots of wind and water....

Units such as these floating turbine foundations could be readily mass produced in any Great Lakes City with a port/docks and the ability to work with steel. Like Buffalo/Lackawanna/Tonawanda, for example. This would make a great use of the former Bethlehem and Republic Steel sites, as well as some places like the Colorado Iron & Steel site (next to Huntley, a 400 MW coal burning ancient entity), and even the former GM foundry in Tonawanda. All you need is water access or even train access for the major parts, which can be modularly sub-assembled at ports and then assembled at the proposed turbine sites.

Also, see links for maps. In the GL map (last link), the areas where platforms like this would come in handy are the green and blue shades, or about 75% of the surface area of the Great Lakes. That is MORE than enough to power up ALL of the US and Canada, but that is not necessary, as lots of regions have plenty of renewables to keep themselves happy and then some. But there is a benefit to doing a significant chunk of energy production near where it is consumed, and then buffering this with other areas, so in the rare event that the Great Lakes are not sufficiently windy, well somebody else is getting more than well..er...winded. Those places also can import the excess from the Great Lakes when the weather tables are turned, or the excess can also be easily stashed. For example, many of the areas near Lake Superior are quite steep. Lake Superior could become a giant "hydro-battery" for the midsection of the North American continent (there are also several other such potentials in the US and Canada). However, this is more than enough to completely rid ourselves of the need to use
nukes, coal and Ngas to make any electricity, unless this is a result of co-gen operations (which tends to get rid of the nuke option, as these are not reliable enough for co-gen). In addition, much of our liquid
fuel supply could be obtained by either hydrogenating nitrogen (ammonia is both a fertilizer and can be a fuel) or carbon dioxide (methanol, ethanol, butanols, synthetic gasoline, diesel), often in conjunction with fermentation and biomass frying/combustion. And of
course, stored electrical energy is easily obtained by pumping water up a hill, and running it downhill back to lakes to make this electricity, as is done on both sides of Niagara Falls at present.

Anyway, here is a future almost completely renewably powered. It will require sensible feed-in laws to make this economically viable, and to effect a smooth transition between our present unsustainable ways and
a future that is sustainable as well as one that has a significantly larger number of manufacturing jobs in our region than is currently the case. And for scenarios like this, energy efficiency still reigns supreme, but that only takes you so far, and it certainly will not replace the natural gas used to keep us warm on winter nights. And of course, the
more wind turbines located on land means that less have to be located offshore (the offshore ones will be about 4 c/kw-hr more expensive than the onshore ones, which will be about 10 c/kw-hr in most feed-in
law arrangements).

Anyway, between 5 to 9 c/kw-hr is the difference between a sustainable, high employment future and an unsustainable, low employment, pollution based future based on a declining fossil fuel energy resource. In effect, that's the price of freedom from nukes and
fossil fuels and especially imported oil and natural gas. Or the drowning of much of the big ocean coastal metropolitan areas via the action of Global Warming from CO2 pollution on the Greenland Ice-sheets. It's also the price for an expanding economy, and not a shrinking one, as well as a society not in a downward spiral based on a few high income "intellectual" (but no longer financial-real estate-insurance-speculation based) jobs and a vast mass of under and unemployed struggling over the scraps of the few remaining
manufacturing and construction jobs not taken by our
Chinese/Indian/European creditor overlords, thanks largely to Bu$h & Co, but also plenty of shared "stupid".

Here is a link to Great Lake Depth maps (Lake Superior is MIA for now)
http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/greatlakes/greatlakes.html

Or, there is this map:
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk133/Nb41a/Energy/GLdepths1c.jpg

Oh well, a person can always dream...And besides, in this part of our continent, its the only places where those darn wind robbing, wind abrading trees don't grow.


Display:
I did some diaries about great lakes wind power a while back.

Erie is doable with present tech, the bathymetry is right, with few deep waters.

Lake Michigan is the real winner if you can build in deep water, because the lake is extremely deep, bottoming out at 800+ feet.

This would be an excellent industrial promotion project.  THe skills and machines needed for turbine manufacturing are a sufficiently close match to the auto industry, that it begs the question why the skilled machinests and foundries left in the cold by the auto industry couldn't be used to do this.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Feb 20th, 2009 at 12:59:46 PM EST
I agree. And when I have talked with union members/union activists - especially Steelworkers union and UAW officials, that same sentiment is very apparent. But they still haven't got the need to make these projects financially free of tax credits and tax deductions (which lower the price of electricity made by these by 5 to 7 c/kw-hr, and thus competitive with polluting old coal facilities  (3 to 5 c/kw-hr), ancient depleted nukes whose costs have been sloughed off to ratepayers ("stranded costs"), and for now, cheap natural gas.

This veers into what I call "Schumer's Conundrum", named after NY's Senator. He wants cheap electricity  (and there is only so much of the ultra-cheap Niagara Falls and St Lawrence River energy to go around), but wants it green, wants the jobs from green electricity (and probably the financing jobs for green energy, too). But by wanting everything, he essentially gets nothing, and every year, the waters of the Atlantic creep up ever higher (he lives in Brooklyn, which is mostly near sea-level).

Cheech & Chong had a great saying about "if you have the time, you have no money for stuff and that was when there was stuff available, and if you have money for stuff, there was a dearth of stuff available". Well, a bit paraphrased, but close enough for government work. For renewables, if you don't have a price for the product, it might raise the price of the electricity product a touch, which is deemed verbotten. On the other hand, if you don't raise the electricity price to pay off the renewable investments, you get no renewables. Of course, if American's got more efficient with electricity, the cost of electricity going up would be more than compensated by less money paid for less electricity needed. But, the sale of the incandescent bulb is still allowed, and not taxed at $5/100 watt incandescent bulb. And buying more than 42" TV screens to earth the superbowl was still all the rage this year.

Meanwhile, reality  slowly keeps intruding. The big question is whether the hordes of unemployed smarten up, or the waters of the Atlantic reach the strets of Brooklyn

Nb41

by nb41 on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 09:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... there are no construction and manufacturing jobs in allowing polluting old coal plants to operate, and there is no guarantee that coal will continue to be cheap. Establishing the policy for a steady and rapid build up of wind power will create both construction and manufacturing jobs, and will give a guaranteed price for the electricity produced.

China can make noises about sustainable power, but they are not likely to really cut down their share of coal power before they hit their domestic peak coal ... and once they hit their domestic peak coal, the international price for coal is going to start heading up, and with it the domestic price for all coal-fired electricity.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 01:42:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any estimate of the time to peak Chinese coal?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 04:32:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... obscured by China's lack of any idea of Freedom of Information (after all, if Information was "meant" to be free, the regulating information would not be so useful in maintaining political control) ...

... but the last estimate I saw put it at ten to twenty years, and probably the short side of that ... so around 2020-2025 might not be a bad guess.

And expansion of coal supply will be increasingly difficult as they approach the plateau ... which the Chinese government seems likely to ascribe to "successful efforts to cope with CO2 emissions".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 04:54:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bruce,

Good point! And since a new coal burner will make electricity at between 10 to 12 c/kw-hr with no CO2 trash-stashing, and 15 to 17 c/kw-hr with CO2 trash stashing....even offshore wind is competitive with new coal burners. Add in the social benefits to all the people put to work with wind and offshore wind, and this makes even more sense.

All that is needed is a Feed-In Law option....and they would be "ready to make some Gumbo". For both on and offshore wind.

Nb41

by nb41 on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 05:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot get the principalpower link to work.  What is the cost differential for doing wind power in 50-150' water vs. deep water?  It seems like there is a lot of Lake Michigan that is within that depth and is more than 10 miles off shore.  Why not do that first?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 20th, 2009 at 09:30:14 PM EST
Principle Power - Products - Windfloat



I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Feb 20th, 2009 at 11:51:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARG,

If you get some detailed bathymetric maps of Lake Michigan, and concentrate on the eastern shore (prevailing winds are from the WSW, and about 80% of the power in the wind will come from the western quadrant), you will find that the lakes gets quite deep very fast. It is only in the very northern part that the waters get reasonably shallow,  on the eastern shore. There is a lot of shallow lake on the western shore, but that is where the winds are least intense. The lake itself is lined up in a north-south direction, so it is the eastern shore (the Michigan side) where the most energy can be extracted.

But the really windy lake is Lake Superior, which gets very deep very fast, especially along the Michigan shore.

There was a recent study done by the state of Michigan of their offshore potential, which they listed as 322 GW (no depth limitations), 103 GW (60 m limit), or 55 GW (30 m limit). See http://www.landpolicy.msu.edu/modules.php?name=Documents&op=viewlive&sp_id=812.

Anyway, that's a lot of potential, and more than enough to power up a state that on average uses about 12 GW of electricity

Nb41

by nb41 on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 05:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARG,

If you get some detailed bathymetric maps of Lake Michigan, and concentrate on the eastern shore (prevailing winds are from the WSW, and about 80% of the power in the wind will come from the western quadrant), you will find that the lakes gets quite deep very fast. It is only in the very northern part that the waters get reasonably shallow,  on the eastern shore. There is a lot of shallow lake on the western shore, but that is where the winds are least intense. The lake itself is lined up in a north-south direction, so it is the eastern shore (the Michigan side) where the most energy can be extracted.

But the really windy lake is Lake Superior, which gets very deep very fast, especially along the Michigan shore.

There was a recent study done by the state of Michigan of their offshore potential, which they listed as 322 GW (no depth limitations), 103 GW (60 m limit), or 55 GW (30 m limit). See http://www.landpolicy.msu.edu/modules.php?name=Documents&op=viewlive&sp_id=812.

Anyway, that's a lot of potential, and more than enough to power up a state that on average uses about 12 GW of electricity

Nb41

by nb41 on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 05:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with little time to seek out the proper links, i'd like to point out that there is a global slew of work being done on "swimming foundations" as the Germans say.  In the US, the original offshore designs from the 70's were floating.  In fact, the entire turbine support structure was allowed to swim with the wind, eliminating expensive yaw bearings and motors.

Currently, NREL investigated several designs, and has evolved what they believe is optimal.  in Norway, a large floating project is supposed to begin construction next year (this year?).  Italy tried to build a smaller test program several years ago, which to date hasn't gotten "afloat."  The floating tripods pictured above may have come from a design developed in the Netherlands, at the turn of the century, which likely predated the principle power designs.

There's more under development under the radar, for sure.  the rest of the world really doesn't have the giant pool table we affectionately call the North Sea.

I guess i'd have more respect for ocean offshore development in the US if they were already moving toward 15-20 Gigs/Yr on land, increasing annually, and with the concommitent investment on transmission.  The Great Lakes?  Hmmm, got an open mind there.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 07:39:35 AM EST
adding, there are some sound engineering/cost reasons to go with a tripod foundation, but most of the research says to put the turbines in the middle.  i have not investigated these pictured at all.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 07:42:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd guess and say that the foundation rotates to face the wind, because it seems like it would be easier for an active ballast system to work if each leg of the tripod was normally in roughly the same orientation to the wind.

In the picture, each of the turbines are oriented to face the other two legs of the tripod, but whether that is the design or it just happens to be illustrated with the wind coming in from that direction is not clear.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 01:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the modern floating structures are catenary to some degree, so they can't really orient to the wind freely.  Check the NREL studies, they're all public on the net.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 01:50:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
catenary - the curve theoretically assumed by a perfectly flexible and inextensible cord of uniform density and cross section hanging freely from two fixed points

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 02:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 04:04:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or rather,



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 04:07:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... stress that they don't fall over even when the wind is coming from the direction where it would seem most likely to tip over.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 04:51:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In projects i've worked on, we came up with a maximum laydown angle of 17 degrees, meaning from the normal vertical, in 120 kph winds.  beyond that, we detuned the turbines to keep the angle upright (no greater than 17 degrees).  We have no real world data on whether that was the correct decision, but even if wrong, we don't lose much energy if we have to derate sooner.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 05:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... not about engineering, when talking about the details in an "artists impression" drawing.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 06:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... is when the "Electricity Superhighway" additions to bring High Plains wind power to market have been made, since the Time of Day profile for the High Plains and the Great Lakes are quite different from each other, so adding the Great Lakes to the Dakota, Kansas and Texas Panhandle resources ought to provide a valuable reduction in the Time of Day variance of the system.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 01:38:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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