Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cape Wind Approved

After a nine-year struggle, the proposed Cape Wind wind farm off the Massachusetts coast has been approved by the Obama administration and looks set to go ahead.

A very minor victory for renewable energy, but perhaps it will help other projects move ahead.

In a related note, people and businesses in those parts of Europe with a lot of wind farms are getting creative about ways to use more power when the wind is blowing. Denmark and the Netherlands charge more for power when their windmills aren't turning, giving their customers a strong incentive to vary their power consumption:

In a 5.5-million cubic foot (155,742 cubic meter) warehouse at the mouth of the Elbe River, [the company] unloads and stores the catch from fishing boats sailing in the North Sea. Ordinarily, the warehouse needs to be kept at a chilly -4 F (-20 C). But the temperature inside can be pushed as low as -22 F (-30 C) when local windmills are spinning. The deep freeze gives the warehouse breathing room at times when the wind -- and the power -- dies down. Then, if allowed to warm slowly, the facility still will stay cold enough for the frozen fish. “It’s not that we’re using less power, it’s just that we’re using it when it’s cheaper,” GOOSS technical director Gunter Krins says.

In the summer, the well-insulated warehouse warms about 2 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) every 24 hours when the cooling is turned off. In the winter, the building warms at about half that rate. Depending on the season, that means the shelves stacked with frozen fish can “store” energy equivalent to a week’s worth of refrigeration.

No comments: