5/15/2012

Google Backed East Coast Atlantic Wind Connection


The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that the Atlantic Wind Connection could move forward due to lack of competitive interest for the proposal which would deliver 7000 megawatts of wind turbine generated electricity to the East Coast's grid.  The Google backed wind power transmission line will stretch from Virginia to New Jersey.  The government's granting of a right of way to the oceanic transmission line paves the way for the project's sponsors to begin an environmental impact statement.

The transmission system includes a power line along the sea floor and additional lines ashore that in total will extend 790 miles upon completion.  The goal of the project is to link the various wind farms planned for construction 15 to 20 miles off the coast.  Rather than have each offshore wind project individually linked to the grid onshore, the transmission line would reduce the number of radial lines that would otherwise be required to carry the wind generated electricity to east coast cities and towns


One of the projects biggest benefits os the potential to relieve the east coast's grid congestion, when high cost power generators must operate during peak times to provide electricity in highly populated areas while idle power stations in remote regions are idle.  The Atlantic Wind Connection and its additional sponsors, Google Energies II, the Japanese trading firm Marubeni Corporation and the Belgian energy firm Elia, still face several challenges.  While New Jersey has moved forward with its energy farm plans, Maryland and Delaware have stalled.   Enthusiasm for wind projects had dampened also due to the decreased price of natural gas and the slow economy.

Via the New York Times