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  (Source: Google Blog)
Atlantic Wind Connection backbone will connect 6,000MW of offshore wind turbines

Google has signed an agreement to financially assist the establishment of a backbone transmission project that will further progress offshore wind development off the Mid-Atlantic coast. The project, which is called the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone, is financed by Google, Marubeni Coprporation and Good Energies. It will be led by Trans-Elect, which is an independent transmission company. 

The AWC backbone is a huge design covering 350 miles off the coast from New Jersey to Virginia. It will connect 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines, which is comparable to 60 percent of the wind energy installed throughout the entire United States last year. This amount of power is capable of providing for 1.9 million homes. 

To collect this kind of power, the AWC backbone will draw power from several offshore wind farms and then deliver it to high capacity parts of the land-based transmission system via sub-sea cables. 

The AWC backbone will assist states in meeting their renewable energy goals and standards by installing turbines 10 to 15 miles offshore where they are out of sight from land and are able to take advantage of heavier winds. The project is specifically advantageous to the east coast because transmission is overstretched in this area, and "relieves grid congestion" in one of the National Interest Transmission Corridors. The AWC backbone also prevents developers from having to install individual radial transmission lines from the shore to each offshore wind project, saving both time and money. 

In addition to environmental benefits, Google sees the AWC backbone as an opportunity that will offer "a solid financial return" and will create thousands of jobs. 

"We believe in investing in projects that make good business sense and further the development of renewable energy," Rick Needham wrote the Google Blog. "We're willing to take calculated risks on early stage ideas and projects that can have dramatic impacts while offering attractive returns. 

"This willingness to be ahead of the industry and invest in large scale innovative projects is core to our success as a company."

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Additional details
By mdogs444 on 10/12/2010 5:06:58 PM , Rating: 3
It will connect 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines, which is comparable to 60 percent of the wind energy installed throughout the entire United States last year. This amount of power is capable of providing for 1.9 million homes.

I think its important to note what isn't being said in this DT article...

From an AP article hosted on Yahoo:

The transmission lines, which could cost up to $5 billion over the next 10 years, would run as far as 20 miles offshore from Virginia to New Jersey. The initial phase of the project would be capable of delivering 2,000 megawatts of wind energy -- enough to power about 500,000 homes.

Trans-Elect CEO Robert L. Mitchell said the first phase is expected to cost $1.8 billion and run 150 miles in federal waters from New Jersey to Delaware. That phase, he said, will be complete by early 2016.

So basically, its only going to be a 1/4th of what is being said in this DT article, and won't even be completed until 2016 - of course in a perfect project plan, which we know never happens.

Then, at the BOTTOM of the article (which I find completely ironic) it says:

The energy is expected to cost more than conventional electricity at current market prices, but Needham said Google still sees offshore wind as an attractive a long-term investment.

RE: Additional details
By mkrech on 10/12/2010 5:47:50 PM , Rating: 2
I am not surprised that given the known financial information Google still sees this as an attractive long term option. Google has succeeded by seeing positive return on investment where others do not.

In this case, it helps to understand that big business in America long ago ceased being based on true capitalism. What once was competitive advantage based on the best product has now become competitive advantage based on the most effective political influence.

Google is just investing in political favor.

RE: Additional details
By FaceMaster on 10/12/2010 6:27:17 PM , Rating: 4
Google is just investing in political favor.

...or they're just taking over the world, one step at a time.

RE: Additional details
By kingius on 10/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Additional details
By Amiga500 on 10/13/2010 6:08:11 AM , Rating: 2
Where do you get the idea it is free?

I take it maintenance of the turbines and lines come for free in your world?

RE: Additional details
By sleepeeg3 on 10/12/2010 11:26:51 PM , Rating: 3
You will never get the full, honest truth from the greenies, because they want to push their agenda.

However, based on the *estimates* this effort would be a huge step forward for wind. Even taking into account the $5B extra in transmission lines, wind's efficiency and life expectancy, the cost would be down around the cost of conventional technologies.

"Trans-Elect expects the project to cost $5 billion in total, not including financing and permit fees."

Total you would be looking at around $10B, plus "financing and permit fees." Compared to the largest wind farms operating currently, the cost ends up being around 2.5x that and nearly on par with coal. So this is very optimistic...

On the other hand, we have seen nuclear estimates start at $500 million and end up 10x that amount, due to red tape and other issues so who really knows? All estimates are just those - estimates. Also, if they are still looking for financing and the taxpayers to build their transmission lines, they are going to be inclined to bend those numbers as much as possible. Do their cost's include government subsidies or other hidden costs that they haven't mentioned?

Either way, this is something to watch. The greenies finally have something to be legitimately hopeful about.

RE: Additional details
By sleepeeg3 on 10/12/2010 11:32:19 PM , Rating: 2
"Compared to the largest wind farms operating currently, the cost ends up being around 2.5x that and nearly on par with coal." I meant the cost would be a 2.5x reduction from current farms.

RE: Additional details
By ekv on 10/13/2010 3:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
It's Google's money. I hope it works out for them, er, I wish them the best of luck.

What I want to watch are the maintenance costs. Things in and around the ocean always tend to require a bit higher maintenance than you'd think. My two bits.

RE: Additional details
By rcc on 10/13/2010 1:19:33 PM , Rating: 2
The combination of hurricanes and open water should be interesting. I hope they don't scrimp when hiring the engineers.

RE: Additional details
By BZDTemp on 10/13/2010 7:37:02 AM , Rating: 1
"You will never get the full, honest truth from the greenies, because they want to push their agenda."

That is BS!
I find it pretty offensive to say people with a green agenda will not give the full, honest truth. For sure some "greenies" will act like that but making a categorical statement like yours is plain wrong. People are people and anyone has an agenda and some people will go beyond what is right to push that agenda. Just look at the lies being told about Obama.

PS. Here is a link to the official site of the biggest offshore Wind farm to those which will want facts and not speculation:

Hurricane track
By pityme on 10/12/2010 5:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
Wind turbine installations are inline with most atlantic based hurricanes. Neat. Instead of just hitting some the canes can hit them all.

RE: Hurricane track
By Spivonious on 10/13/2010 10:23:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but think of the electricity that 150mph winds will generate!

RE: Hurricane track
By jemix on 10/14/2010 9:35:24 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, wind turbines have brakes to keep them from spinning too fast in high winds. If the brakes fail, then this would happen - Hopefully, the wind turbines will take advantage of regenerative braking to compensate.

RE: Hurricane track
By monkeyman1140 on 10/14/2010 12:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
Hurricanes rapidly lose strength when they hit the colder waters up there and end up at best as tropical depressions, so its not too big a deal.

Google runs on electricity, so its motives are not just tree-hugging.

By weathermatrix on 10/15/2010 3:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
Did some research and talked to some folks about turbines vs. hurricanes:

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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