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#389741 - 10/12/10 02:23 PM Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project  
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Google Joins Consortium to Create Wind Energy "Superhighway"

[Linked Image]Google will create a "superhighway for clean energy" by joining a consortium to develop an underwater power cable network that will allow a massive wind farm off the Mid-Atlantic coast to provide electricity to four U.S. states. The ambitious project is estimated to cost between $5 billion and $6 billion and is considered a gamble as no offshore wind installations have yet been built in the United States.

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#389765 - 10/12/10 04:46 PM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: Short]  
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ron Offline
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How about a wind farm off the coast of SP and CC? Wouldn't need the whole $5 billion they used in the states. Maybe only $5 million. Would be better than looking for oil.

#389969 - 10/14/10 09:06 PM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: Short]  
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I would do that off the west coast - the back of the island. Still the issue is how to power the down time. Gas turbines that are usually used in combination with wind power would be way to expensive here - and are in most countries that don't have a consistent wind supply like we do.

Live and let live
#389973 - 10/14/10 09:58 PM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: Short]  
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You could use the existing grid that brings hydroelectric power from Mexico. Buy when the wind is low, sell when the wind is high. That's what they do on Fox Island, Maine. I think that the better winds are on the east side of the island but you could set up several anemometers and get test readings from several places around the island.The weather station set up for the past couple years in SP can provide data on speed and direction. I'm not an engineer but with that data you can readily calculate the amount of electricity you could expect with any given wind turbine available. You might even think solar although I don't think its as developed as wind. I would think that both would be far preferable that drilling for oil off shore. But tyhat's just me.

#389975 - 10/15/10 06:31 AM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: ron]  
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ron, you are assuming that installing wind turbines would do away with the reason to drill for oil and of course it would not. You are talking about two different things. One is generating electric and the other is finding raw energy (Oil) which would be exported most likely and done for a profit. The profit motive would not go away.

Another problem would be that wind power would probably cost more than the power now brought in from Mexico. Some day we may get there with alternatives but we are not there now. In the USA all the larger and most of the smaller wind projects are subsidized by grants or tax breaks. Without these subsidies they would not be viable at this time. The Nantucket wind project which may go ahead is projected by everyone including the government to double or triple electric rates in the area it will serve. By law the electric companies are being forced to buy this uneconomical electricity because the law says that a certain percentage of the electric that they sell must be green.

Some day we may have good substitutes for what is available now at a reasonable cost but we are not there yet. In the USA We do have a reasonable alternative but it is a hard sell and is not being pursued like it should in my opinion.

Formerly from somewhere on a beach in Belize
#390019 - 10/15/10 03:13 PM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: ragman]  
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ragman Offline
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ron and short, I decided to think about this a little.
Ok, just by coincidence today I was working at a plant to inspect some new boilers which where just installed and the engineer I was working with just wrote a paper about their wind turbine. Now understand that he is very pro wind turbines but Iíve known him for a while and he is very honest. Here is what he tells me about their wind turbine:
700KW 4 Years old and cost then $1,000,000. In 4 years it has only required normal preventive maintenance and no other repairs. It is in a very windy location, located on a canal where the wind is funneled down from the bay. Their wind turbine averages 150KW per day. In other words sometimes it runs at 700KW and sometimes a lot less. Itís generator turns at 1800 rpmís and it uses a speed increaser gear which seems to work well. They claim it saves them $250,000 a year in electrical cost.

Now when questioned he informed me that it was half paid for by the Federal Gov. and because it is a state school the State paid the other half. Therefore there is no interest expense on the initial capital. It is set on their land right near a very handy place to tie into the grid for the school. Therefore no land purchase and fees, easy construction and the 13KV cable from the turbine had to go a very short distance to the transformer where it was tied into the existing grid. (about 100 ft. from the base of the turbine) It is not operated for a profit so they do not need a return on capital and basically has no need for any permanent employees to service or inspect the turbine it is done by contract. There is no need to read meters or take care of transmission lines as the normal electric supplier does all of that.

Letís make some assumptions. From the above as a base how much capacity would San Pedro would need? Donít forget the 21% average daily produced. Capital cost per KW would be more I would think because this was based on prices of 4 years ago. There would have to be a return on investment I would think. Money would be borrowed so there would be interest expense. Of course construction over water would be much more expensive. Transmission costs also would be much more because of longer distances and underwater cable. This type of an operation would require employees, monitoring and costs I probably canít think of off hand. I would say that initial expense would be double, triple or more. How would this kinds of expenditure be feasible? What would be the life of these turbies in the environment of salt air and such? Ok, kick this around and tell me if I wrong. Iím an engineer but I am not in design and construction of wind turbines so these are all educated guesses about the problems involved. Also, and this is important, remember that backup in needed around the clock and would have to be maintained, whether that be transmission lines and gear from Mexico or the local plant. The back up would be used frequently due to the vagrancies of the wind. I have worked in and around power plants for over 45 years so I donít think Iím completely out of whack here.

Formerly from somewhere on a beach in Belize
#392026 - 11/05/10 08:20 PM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: ragman]  
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I doubt that CFE will let us buy during the down time. Or they would have to increase the price for electricity so much that it would be cheaper to use back-up generators. Nothing is for free in this world! Producing consistent power according to the demand, is the expensive part of producing electricity, keeping the peaks and down time of the source in mind.

It sounds very interesting, Still the back-up power source is not discussed, unless there is a constant and reliable wind, which we do not have here in Belize.

I would love to see wind power being a feasible alternative power source for electricity, but it would just not work here. Solar power is to expensive, unless there is no power grid nearby (I used to sell solar power systems myself!). You can forget about our government subsidizing sustainable energy; we don't have that first world luxury in Belize.


Live and let live
#392134 - 11/07/10 08:53 AM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: Short]  
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Mike Campbell Offline
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I too have been enchanted by the wind generation systems. I have also found many drawbacks that make it not practical on a large scale. Solar (photo voltaic) generation costs are getting better but not there yet. Of the alternative energy systems the solar thermal systems seem to have the most promise. Mirrors focus sunlight to make heat to produce steam to run a steam generator. Costs are getting better with this type of power.

The very cheapest is hydroelectric as the construction cost is the primary factor in power costs. That being said Chalillo should be producing power at very low costs. Our problem is they keep the actual cost info as top secret as they would not be able to justify the price of electricity based on their production costs. If we changed our laws to be a bit greener it would help a lot. Right now you cannot produce and sell or use electricity without permit from BEL. The exception is the CFZ where there is another company producing and selling power.

If BEL was required to buy power produced by consumers via solar or wind we would see progress in our fight against high electric rates. In the states power companies are required by law to buy back power AT THE COST OF PRODUCTION. That means that if it costs the power company $.05/kwh then they must buy it from you at that same production cost. If this system was in place they would have to come clean on what their actual cost of production at Chalillo is. Probably the actual cost is around $.01/kwh while fossil fuel plants (diesel) have costs around $.035/kwh. It is impossible to justify our electric rates.

Yes we are getting ripped off big time by Fortis and the GOB does not seem to care at all. Want to nationalize an industry? Look at our electric industry. We cannot afford these rates, it is crippling many businesses and making others impossible to consider and it chases away business that are considering locating operations to Belize, all for the profit of a few. We still suffer under Colonialism just a different flavor.

#407380 - 05/10/11 10:06 AM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: Mike Campbell]  
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JdeVerteuil Offline
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GE makes a 4MW system that would power a good portion of the islands. As far as location you do not want it west of the islands, winds are slower. Offshore winds are cleaner, less turbulant, and therefore faster and constant. You will need a supporting system that carries the energy produced to shore, this is what Google is paying for off the US.
$5million will barely touch the project, but would be a good down payment.
You would need a wind farm probably north-east of Turneffe.
To compensate for the down time solar panels located on roofs to reduce eco damage would be a good fix.
Other ideas would be a wind farm on Baldy Beacon and river turbines.
Belize can produce its entire energy needs thru renewable resources and it would be paid for by outside resources as the idea of pulling an entire country off the grid would be amazing.

John deVerteuil
#407394 - 05/10/11 10:42 AM Re: Google joins $5 billion offshore wind grid project [Re: Short]  
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