By joining a 1,550 mile long network of offshore wind turbines together, scientists at the University of Delaware say that we could provide consistent electrical power from Massachusetts to North Carolina. By connecting all these turbines together over a long distance, you can smooth out any impacts that local conditions would have on the entire grid – that is, if the wind isn’t blowing in one part of the chain, its probably blowing in another part.
Willett Kempton and his team of researchers at the University of Delaware analyzed five years of offshore wind data from Florida to Maine. What they found was that by combining power from the wind turbines that would have been in place, the overall power output from the combined turbines changed very slowly, even if individual stations were not producing any power at all. Not once during the five year period studied did the overall power output drop to zero. “We took an intermittent resource and made it not intermittent anymore,” Kempton said.
While there aren’t yet any US commercial offshore wind farms, several companies have started development on six offshore East Coast wind farms. Offshore wind is considered to be a better source of power than wind on land, since the ocean has stronger and more constant winds. But even with more consistent offshore winds, its still not consistent enough to guarantee always flowing power. Kempton’s new study shows a way ahead to get that consistency out of offshore wind.
via: Wired News