Now one Delaware utility company is fostering
a bold new idea to solve wind power location complaints for sea-bordering
states -- put the turbines off shore. On Monday, Delmarva Power, a major
Delaware utility, announced that it was entering into a contract with Bluewater
Wind to produce the nation's first offshore wind farm.
According to Bluewater spokesman Jim Lanard, once installed there will be 150
turbines in total. Cumulatively they will provide 16 percent of the
utility's power output. The turbines will be securely anchored dozens of
miles off Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
However, Bluewater isn't stopping there. Delmarva will only use
approximately half the projected generating capacity of the farm. The
remainder of the new wind farm's juice will be sold off to other
The price tag on this incredible adventure is a cool $1.6B USD.
Construction will begin immediately pending regulatory inspection and
approval. This may become a lengthy process, though. Bluewater is
hoping to push it through as quickly as possible, as it hopes to have the plant
operational within four years.
Bluewater has a 25-year contract with Delmarva, which is slated to begin in
2012. Says Lanard, "[With the wind farm's power] Delmarva Power will
be able to light about 50,000 homes a year, every year."
The benefits will be passed on to the consumer, says Lanard, who will be
protected against instability in energy costs. The wind power is sold at
a locked in rate per kilowatt hour.
Bluewater brings to the table experience from its successful establishment of
an offshore plant in Denmark. At the Delaware plant, the turbines will
rest in 75-feet deep water, and will rise 250 feet above the water line.
Hurricanes should be no problem for them as they are engineered to withstand
the brunt of a hurricane. Each turbine has three blades, 150 feet long a
Only on extremely clear days will the park be visible from shore.
Vacationers travelling to Rehoboth Beach in the summer will rarely see the
park. Says Lanard, "If they can see them at all, the turbine blades
would cover about the size of your thumbnail, and the poles would be about the
width of a toothpick."
With a lot of excitement floating around this idea, it would not be surprising
to see other green-centric
states like California and Oregon jumping on the offshore wind-farm trend
in coming years. Bluewater also has pending proposals with utilities and
government entities in New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey as well.