Term Paper: Wind Farms in Nantucket Cape Cod

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Wind Farms in Nantucket (cape Code)

The attitude of the energy industry internationally has changed, and there are two important factors that are the prime reasons for this - the environmental impact due to the different international protocols that have been agreed on, and the cost of the energy at present along with the likely movement of the base source of the energy in future years. The main problems with pricing are with carbon-based fuels as there is now a consciousness that there is an impending shortage of these fuels in the not so distant future and the impacts are already coming through in the form of increasing prices. The other main source of energy developed earlier, nuclear energy is also not being encouraged due to the environmental impacts that it has. On the other hand, wind-based energy does not have these two direct impacts, though there are some other impacts that are presumed to happen, about which there will be discussions during the course of this article. At the same time no industry can develop unless there is a party which provides a technology which will be depended on by the producers of the energy. This is the source for commercial faith and dependence. This has happened in the case of wind power farms on land, but technology has not developed in the case of offshore wind farm projects. This has led to a situation where only 1.3% of the international generation of wind energy being generated off-shore. At the same time, there are some clear advantages in generating wind energy offshore as it helps in terms of the costs of land that is used for the generating station. There are some changes, that are now taking place, and these have to be considered when we talk about the future of energy generation of in Nantucket.


When we talk about different sources of energy, we have to look at two aspects and the first of these is the environmental impact that the use of that particular variety of energy that it has. As on date, the impact of wind energy is not very high on the situation in the United States energy situation and what we may discuss is the potential that it may have in the future. At best the impact of wind power could reduce the consumption of energy from other sources by a maximum of 5% as may be the situation at the end of the year. This analysis was made very recently, on 3rd of November, 2005. Yet the use of this type of energy may help the customers in getting some relief from the high prices of fossil fuels which they would be using otherwise. American Wind Energy Association, which is based in Washington, DC and a core organization for the group of wind energy producers, there will be an installation of about 2,500 megawatts of wind power capacity in the current year, and this will bring the total capacity of wind-based power to about 9,200 megawatts. This is expected to have a very high impact, and the produced energy is expected to be enough to supply more than 2.4 million average United States homes. (Wind power seen reducing need for U.S. Nat gas)


Impact on other fuels

The impact of wind power capacity on other fuels is to replace fuels which are of higher prices and the first impact is on the highest priced fuel first, and that is now natural gas. Other sources of energy, like coal, oil and nuclear energy is less affected. Though in the current year, there are a lot of supplies of natural gas, till now, yet the predictions for future supplies are not so good and the predicted prices are double the level of the previous year. The cost is around $11 per BTU mm as almost half the output of gas from the Gulf of Mexico is down due to the impact of the hurricanes that have taken place during the current year. At the same time, the natural gas industry does not predict a clash of interest with wind power, and the main reason for this is that they are getting record prices and thus making record profits. The major operator of the regional grid, New England Inc. is highly dependant on natural gas has already warned that there is likely to be fuel shortages for the power plants of the organization due to lower from Gulf of Mexico. This is likely to lead to difficulties in supply of power during the current year. (Wind power seen reducing need for U.S. Nat gas) The price of natural gas is rising very fast now and has gone up from $2 per million BTU in 2002 to about $14 per million BTU as at the end of October 2005. This is a growth of seven times in a period of less than 4 years. Some blame it on the Hurricane Katrina that took place, but that has only speeded up the rise in prices from $10 per million BTU to $12 per million BTU after the hurricane passed over. (Kleekamp, 2005) What has to be realized that as a nation, United States is running out of not only cheap petroleum, but also of cheap natural gas.

At the same time, solar and wind power costs are coming down quite rapidly and are today at about half the level that they were about ten years earlier. Thus in many cases, the costs of these energies can compete with retail and wholesale prices of conventional technology even when the conditions are good for the production of conventional technology. Some of these technologies are for the production of bio-fuels or fuels which are based of plant and animal products. These may be made from agricultural products like sugarcane and wheat straw to even waste oil from cooking, and the total quantity of these wastes amount to more than 33 billion liters during 2004. This is about 3% of the total amount of gasoline that is consumed all over the world. In addition there is the use of solar power in about 400,000 homes in countries like Japan, Germany and United States and that is being achieved through the grid into which this power is being fed. Throughout the world there is now a lot of appreciation of the use of renewable energy and the total investment in the sector was a record figure of $30 billion which is 20 to 25% of the total investment in the entire power industry. Among all the sections of the power industry, it is clear that the renewable energy sector is growing at the fastest rate and this was due to both government support and increasing government support and increase in private sector investment. (Beck, 2005)

Pollution and other impacts

The three leading states in installation of wind power during 2005 are currently expected to be Texas, Oklahoma and New York. According to the industry spokesmen, the growth of the industry is expected to be sustained and even increase further due to the impact of the Congress extending the wind energy production tax credit through December 31, 2007. This is expected to ensure the growth of wind power in United States by 51% and reach a total of 14,000 megawatts. This growth will affect the growth of use of natural gas, and that is used mainly for industry and heating of houses. Only a quarter of the energy is used for producing power. The environmental impact of the wind power produced in United States during 2005 will reduce the emission of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by about 7 billion pounds. This is the same as keeping 500,000 sports utility vehicles out of the roads. (Wind power seen reducing need for U.S. Nat gas)

On the other hand, the efforts are still concentrated on using oil or gas and at a stakeholders meeting with the Massachusetts DEP on October 28th of this year, there was a decision taken, that would permit a minimum of four gas fired combustion turbine plants for a greater number of days than they are permitted to with the use of sulfur containing fuel oil as natural gas is expected to be in short supply. The experts in power production and supply are trying to use the minimum amount possible of oil, but this depends on the facilities available within the area. The problem can often be resolved with the use of the Nantucket Wind Farm, if it was available and let us remember the situation during the cold snap crisis of January 14 to 16 of 2004. If the Farm were then available, it would have made a very important contribution to the power supply and reliability of the regional grid then. The Farm would have been able to supply an average of 396 megawatts. This availability is much greater than the deficit that the grid had at that time with a peak at the worst hours of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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