Offshore wind farms present an exciting opportunity to generate electrical power cleanly and with zero emission impact. These new super windmills can produce power at a cost cheaper than natural gas; and have blade spans larger than a 747. The question is where to geographically locate them for optimal use and longevity?
The recent hurricane off the gulf coast once again has driven home an important point about geography. The entire southern Atlantic coastal area is subject to dangerous hurricanes. The entire Atlantic coast is vulnerable to tsunamis and just plain old massive storm waves. Any idea of using this region to generate power is perhaps doomed to failure from natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
Cities in general need to have electrical generation power plants that are reasonably close. The farther electricity has to travel through wires, the more energy it loses thru heat dissipation. There is an alternative our society might want to consider, Michigan and the Midwest.
Michigan is surrounded by the great lakes, which have never seen a hurricane. Michigan is safe from earthquakes and volcanoes. Michigan is perhaps the best location for offshore wind farms in the world.
The United States Department of Energy (Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program) has mapped most of the country for wind power potential at 50 and 100 meters. Between 50 and 100 meters is the average range of a modern windmill. They rate areas on a scale of 1 to 7; 1 being poor and 7 being superb. Michigan’s west coast off of Lake Michigan and the Upper Peninsula’s Lake Superior coast are rated from 5 to 7.
Today, not a single offshore wind farm exists in the entire Great Lakes. This is an excellent opportunity just waiting to be harvested. The midwest, and Michigan in particular, has seen a stagnating population trend for sometime now. Its economy has been based primarily on the automotive and supportive industries. This is a chance for Michigan to become the technological and economic leader it once was. Our country’s future depends on making intelligent choices in regard to our energy infrastructure; this surely should be one of them.
Written by John Bill, founder of independent think tank the Jmaximus Institute of Freedom.