Corry Westbrook Responses to Readers on Wind Farms

Corrynew

Corry Westbrook

In response to Aristotle Onassis’ comment, the Block Island Wind Farm has made great progress and has placed its first steel in the water and turbines should be producing wind energy in a year or so. However, delays can happen and I have run into skeptics before and decided to focus my previous article on successful wind farms that are already producing energy, which currently are only in Europe.

In response to this post from environmentalist David Cox:

I thoroughly enjoyed your article, Corry, and learned a lot. I’m currently consulting with CycloOcean, Inc. on a pilot hydropower project situated in Fort Pierce Inlet (yes, properly permitted, etc.). The owner-inventor, Paul Greyshock, has a revolutionary turbine design (no pun…), and last winter we had a successful three month test deployment. It just works. Love to tell you more sometime. Thanks again for your articles!

I am not familiar with CycloOcean, Inc. or the hydropower project situated in Fort Pierce Inlet. It sounds fascinating and I would love to learn more. It will take all kinds of alternative energy sources working together to replace carbon based fuels quickly.

In Florida, we can use solar 50% of the time, until storage technology comes on-line and then we can use it 100% of the time. Offshore wind is awesome but as I said in my article, it will only provide 16% of Florida’s energy needs. Perhaps with sun and wind producing 66% in the next 5-10 years, ocean current generated power could fill the 34% unmet need. We need to realize it will take a few sources of non-carbon based energy to replace Florida’s current sources – natural gas, coal, oil and nuclear.

The most important issue is time. We must get alternative energy up and running as soon as humanly possible and stop using carbon based energy now. We have no time to spare. If ocean current generated power is on-line before offshore wind, great. If solar beats everyone because it is so commonly used throughout the US already, and storage comes online, great.

Once again, the most important component is time. With California drying-up, Alaska on fire, Oklahoma suffering too many earthquakes, and South Florida soon to be under water – we have no time to waste. All alternative energy sources should be supported and encouraged.

As for the comment that some offshore wind projects are dead because gas prices are so low; it is something to think about.

In the old economic paradigm the cheapest source wins. We are all watching natural gas kill the coal industry and Saudi Arabia keep its oil supply up to undermine the US oil and natural gas industry.

But the simple comparison of the cost of a kWh verse another kWh is old thinking. We must internalize the externalities and the costs of spills, polluted air and water, explosions and death, horrific coal ash leaks into our streams and rivers, not to mention the cost for storage itself, are extremely high. When we add the costs from fires, drought, sea-level rise, national security risks, etc. into the price of a kWh, alternative energy beats carbon based hands down.

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