The Benefits of Wind
Wind is a clean energy resource with substantial environmental benefits and offers one of the lowest marginal costs of production.
Wind energy benefits our local and national economy by creating jobs and reducing America's reliance on imported energy. Studies have shown that wind energy provides more jobs per dollar invested or per kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated, than most conventional resource options. And because wind energy reduces conventional energy generation pollutants, it offers far-reaching benefits for public health.
With a cost per kilowatt roughly one half that of geothermal and one fifth that of solar power, wind energy is a clear economic winner, even when compared with traditional energy sources. United States wind energy growth has average more than 50% since 1999. And while this is the fastest growing energy resource in the world, decreasing costs, long term fixed prices, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions plus increased efforts to reduce air pollution will drive this growth even more quickly.
Offshore wind energy provides the greatest potential for providing energy companies with economic alternatives to using fossil fuels and/or land based wind farms:
- Offshore waters less than 100 feet in depth are usually considered shallow water and not normally associated with major offshore operations relative to oil industries. These coastal areas of the United States offer a number of advantages for wind farms not inherent in land–based farms.
- Utilizing offshore waters is the best use of offshore surface rights. Onshore wind farms are beset with legal and environmental problems as well as multi-ownership of property. Only the State and Federal Government control offshore surface rights.
- Unlike land-based wind farms which are subjected to ground formed turbulence (trees, buildings, hills, etc.), offshore wind has a lamina flow, improving the efficiency of wind turbines and decreasing maintenance.
- For over 50 years scientists have documented the increase in fish habitats associated with offshore structures and their “artificial reef” benefits.
- Offshore wind farms can be developed in many coastal areas of the United States near large population areas using “short” transmission lines to deliver power to main electrical grids.
- There is a much larger variety of wind patterns existing offshore, not found on land locations. Major river outlets entering the oceans offer thermal differences that are projected into the atmosphere creating more consistent wind turbulence.
- Thousands of square miles making up the US Continental Shelf are available for large wind farms. These farms can ultimately provide sufficient power for America, decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels and preserving the environment.
- Offshore winds tend to increase during the day, when peak demands for power exist
New technologies and sophisticated forecasting techniques combined with better turbines and economies of scale allow offshore wind turbines to generate electricity in all but the most extreme weather conditions.