Tracey Bryant, U Daily, University of Deleware, Feb 1, 2007
The wind resource off the Mid-Atlantic coast could supply the energy needs of nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina, plus the District of Columbia--with enough left over to support a 50 percent increase in future energy demand--according to a study by researchers at the University of Delaware and Stanford University.
Researches found that the wind over the Middle Atlantic Bight, the aquatic region from Cape Cod, Mass., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., shown left, could produce 330 gigawatts (GW) of average electrical power if thousands of wind turbines were installed off the coast.
Supplying the region's energy needs with offshore wind power would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 68 percent and reduce greenhouse gases by 57 percent, according to the study
The scientists examined current wind-turbine technologies to determine the depth of the water and the distance from shore the wind turbines could be located.
They also defined “exclusion zones” where wind turbines could not be installed, such as major bird flyways, shipping lanes, chemical disposal sites, military restricted areas, borrow sites where sediments are removed for beach renourishment projects, and “visual space” from major tourist beaches.
The scientists' estimate of the full-resource, average wind power output of 330 gigawatts over the Middle Atlantic Bight is based on the installation of 166,720 wind turbines, each generating up to 5 megawatts of power. The wind turbines would be located at varying distances from shore, out to 100 meters of water depth, over an ocean area spanning more than 50,000 square miles, from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras.
On the practicality of producing 166,720 wind turbines, co-author Richard Garvine noted, “the United States began producing 2,000 warplanes per year in 1939 for World War II, increased production each year, and, by 1946, had sent 257,000 aircraft into service.
“We did that in seven years, using 1940s technology,” he said.