Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 09:06:40 PM EST
From Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group and also a great summary of what this battle (in Scotland) really is all about. There is a massive offshore effort going on in the waters around the British Isles these days, one that could dwarf the already massive oil and gas industry. Something well in excess of $US 100 billion in the next decade will be invested in making electricity from there, and the neat thing about wind is that it will never deplete, at least as long as humans are on this planet....
The talking hairpiece known as Donald Trump has had a storied career - rich brat with an inherited fortune, gambling purveyor, real estate developer, a "bankruptee" several times over, and now a TV star of a really cheesy and dreadfully BORING psuedo-reality show. Oh, and he is host to a ego several times the size of his various prowesses (such as it is, and such as obtaining money), and topped by that bizarre hairpiece as part of the "Donald suit" that provides a cover for the alien entity that is that ego. Heck, he even ruminated about running for President, and conned a bunch of gullible media types (something that really does seem to come naturally for him) into that bit of "psuedo-entertainment". Personally, I think they should have just kept him bankrupt, stashed away in a trailer court outside Atlantic City, hanging out where some gambling parlor serfs reside and survive in anything but a style The Donald (as the ego-entity is known as) feels entitled to. Just ask him - he'll tell you he deserves at least all the wealth and fame accorded to him to date, and more....
Anyway, he got it into the tiny portion of his brain where cognitive processing supposedly occurs (maybe the alien ego-entity left a while ago, just occasionally phones it in, and normally lets auto-pilot take the helm) that he needed to have a huge golf course in Scotland rivaling his gambling parlors in magnificence (well, it is sort of in the eye of the beholder). He claimed it would cost over 1 billion Pounds Sterling (about $US 1.7 billion) for this vacation paradise/ode to his Scottish ancestors (mother), so by golly, if you want a piece of this dream (money-wise), you'd better be nice to The Donald, really really nice. And thus, armed with a dream and also gobs of some other rich goober's money (he does not really have that much of his own, which is why he needs the TV gig), or at least promises of access to it, he sets off on this new conquest of Scotland, or at least a part of it. Once this golfing emporium gets laid down, why, all the fancy and beautiful people will want to come and play and PAY the mighty bucks that this exclusive imitation of royalty will grant to the holder of those almighty bucks. Think of the TV royalties coming from the "Trump Open". Oh, and did the ocean side location for the golf course get mentioned (well actually that vile (with respect to weather) piece of water known as the North Sea)? Yes, waterfront golfing in the northern British Isles is where it's at, and that appears to be a key item to the economic viability of this golfing emporium. Somehow, it's like colleges and their semi-pro football teams - it's just supposed to magically whisk dollars from customers (or from alumni in the case of combative contests like college football). That is, on the approximately 25% of the days in a year or less when it is fit for either man or beast to play golf on this piece of Scotland. That weather on that piece of land is not for the weak or precipitation intolerant....
But wait - there is an offshore wind farm planned for that bit of ocean, and not one far off in the distance, but one with humongous wind turbines - even by today's standards, where 5 to 6 MW rated wind turbines are not unusual - located between 2.5 to 4 km (1.5 to 2.5 miles) offshore. With towers at least 100 meters off of the surface, and blades perhaps topping out near 180 to 200 meters above the waters, why, the closest might seem like they are 3" high sticking above the water, as viewed from land. Gak! This is to be the Aberdeen Offshore Wind Test Center, partially funded by Vattenfall (a giant company 100% owned by the government of Sweden, and a major owner of European (and especially German) generation and transmission facilities), partly by the European Commission and partly by the City of Aberdeen, Scotland. In particular, Scotland understands that the North Sea oil and natural gas reserves are getting tapped out (peak production was around 2000) and that most of the 40 billion barrels of oil in the North Sea that can be extracted HAVE BEEN EXTRACTED. Time to move on. The oil and gas industry has been a major economic driver for Scotland - tens of thousands of jobs in offshore oil and gas maintenance/operations, still more in the construction and installation of these facilities and all the boats/services needed for them, as well as oil and gas production/extraction/pipeline related manufacture/installation. Scotland and Norway are two of the leading offshore oil and gas platform technology leaders in the world, with lots of marine construction experience in these very dangerous waters and they aim to transition those skills into the offshore wind business. After all, much of the fastest winds/shallow water combinations in Europe are near Britain and Ireland. The estimates of offshore wind facilities by 2020 in these areas start at $US 100 billion, with over 100,000 employed just in the British Isles, and most of that making foundations for these turbines (often German and Danish manufactured) or installing the wind farm system.
In comparison, the Trump golfing pipe-dream (and probably gambling joints needed to provide the income to justify the resorts, which will, of course, negatively impact the Scottish economy, though gambling is not specifically mentioned) are pretty puny, in every sense of the word, compared to both oil and gas of the present but especially the future - offshore wind. Plus, offshore wind is real wealth creation - and almost by definition, anything that The Donald fronts is wealth extraction. Geez, I wonder which one of these contestants - The Donald or offshore wind - will prevail?
The Aberdeen and European Offshore Wind Test Center is tentatively proposed to have 11 wind turbines and a capacity of 100 MW. It would be an investment of nearly $500 million, and also serve as a place where new techniques in maintenance and repair can be tried in the relative safety of 2.5 to 4 km from shore, where rapid rescue is possible. To date, the biggest rated turbine in operation in the world is Enercon's E-126, rated at 7.5 MW, but Enercon does not do offshore any more. The biggest offshore unit installed to date in terms of rated capacity is RE Power's 6.15 MW x 126 meter rotor diameter. Vestas has proposed a 7 MW unit with 80 meter long blades (V164) which will be installed near Denmark later this year, but actually, this one seems rated for MODERATE wind speeds (power ratio is 3.02 m^2/kw). This could actually be uprated to 10 MW (new power ratio of 2.11 m^2/kw), producing a turbine suited for FAST North Sea winds. For example, at the Alpha Ventus site 116 meter rotor x 5 MW turbines (Areva Multibrid) were installed and achieved greater than 51% net outputs, which is pretty remarkable, and which would be the same power rating as a 10 MW V164. But that would not interest The Donald in the least... he just wants the skim on a $US 1.7 billion dollar golf/hotel complex with his name on it for reasons mostly dealing with greed and ego. No doubt he/it (the ego that rules him, or at least the "Donald suit" - as in shades of Men In Black and the Edgar Suit) expects significant tax breaks from the Scottish government and City of Aberdeen to help "incentivize" he and his monied backers, too.
Jon Stewart's Daily Show summed it up best (they often do) when they referred to Trump as the "Hairlander" - a play on "Highlander". But they actually missed something really humorous. Trump has been flailing about and emanating nonsense such as "offshore wind turbines will destroy the Scottish economy" (especially ones close to a certain proposed golf course), because it would "destroy" Scotland (and not just tourism at the proposed golf links). And how does he know that? Because Trump is an expert in tourism (did he mention that he owns a gambling parlor or parlors in Atlantic City, NJ), and because he is The Donald. When he made that claim in the Scottish Parliament, the laughter coming from the members of Parliament was very loud, and very long. The Donald was being mocked! Oh my stars! Check out Scottish Parliament laughs at Donald Trump on dKos.
Here's some links to the proposed Test Center, which got a big boost from the ego entity who shall be forever memorialized as "The Hairlander", so it is sure to be approved: from the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group and
And from "The Daily Show" comes the question of "I wonder what he's (Trump, alias the psuedo-humanoid hairpiece) building over there (instead of wind turbines)":