2 gigawatts of Wind Power off Fukushima, plus solar

Southern Company didn’t do the renewable energy study for Georgia when Mark Z. Jacobson’s study showed All U.S. east coast electricity could come from offshore wind 3 seasons out of 4. Now somebody else has, including how to build offshore wind turbines to withstand hurricanes.

Rob Gilhooly wrote for New Scientist 16 January 2013, Japan to build world’s largest offshore wind farm,

The wind farm, which will generate 1 gigawatt of power once completed, is part of a national plan to increase renewable energy resources following the post-tsunami shutdown of the nation’s 54 nuclear reactors. Only two have since come back online.

The project is part of Fukushima’s plan to become completely energy self-sufficient by 2040, using renewable sources alone. The prefecture is also set to build the country’s biggest solar park.

The wind farm will surpass the 504 megawatts generated by the 140 turbines at the Greater Gabbard farm off the coast of Suffolk, UK — currently the world’s largest farm. This accolade will soon pass to the London Array in the Thames Estuary, where 175 turbines will produce 630 megawatts of power when it comes online later this year. The Fukushima farm will beat this, too.

How will these wind turbines work?

To get around the cost of anchoring the turbines to the sea bed, they will be built on buoyant steel frames which will be stabilised with ballast and anchored to the 200-metre-deep continental shelf that surrounds the Japanese coast via mooring lines.

But what about hurricanes?

Project manager Takeshi Ishihara of the University of Tokyo insists that the area’s seismic activity won’t be an issue for the turbines. His team have carried out computer simulations and water tank test to verify the safety of the turbines not just in the event of an earthquake or tsunami but also in other extreme conditions such as typhoons. “All extreme conditions have been taken into consideration in the design,” he says.

So U. Tokyo has done the study Georgia Power and Southern Company couldn’t be bothered to do, and have designed wind turbines that can withstand hurricanes. How long until a Japanese company starts building wind turbines off the Georgia coast?

In case the point wasn’t clear enough:

Once the farm is running at full power, the intention is that it will supply electricity to the powerful grid which Fukushima’s two nuclear power plants were connected to, reducing transmission costs.

The irony if TEPCO ends up building solar and wind power in Georgia….


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