Offshore windfarms ‘can provide more electricity than the world needs’

Supplies from turbines will prove to be the next great energy revolution, IEA predicts – International Energy Agency (IEA)

Jillian Ambrose Energy correspondent

In the Guardian, Fri 25 Oct 2019 04.23 EDT First published on Thu 24 Oct 2019 14.45 EDT

“Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, but its potential is vast,” the IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol, said.

The study predicts offshore wind generation will grow 15-fold to emerge as a $1tn (£780bn) industry in the next 20 years and will prove to be the next great energy revolution.

The IEA said earlier this week that global supplies of renewable electricity were growing faster than expected and could expand by 50% in the next five years, driven by a resurgence in solar energy. Offshore wind power would drive the world’s growth in clean power due to plummeting costs and new technological breakthroughs, including turbines close to the height of the Eiffel Tower and floating installations that can harness wind speeds further from the coast.

The next generation of floating turbines capable of operating further from the shore could generate enough energy to meet the world’s total electricity demand 11 times over in 2040, according to IEA estimates.

The report predicts that the EU’s offshore wind capacity will grow from almost 20 gigawatts today to nearly 130 gigawatts by 2040, and could reach 180 gigawatts with stronger climate commitments.

In China, the growth of offshore wind generation is likely to be even more rapid, the IEA said. Its offshore wind capacity is forecast to grow from 4 gigawatts to 110 gigawatts by 2040 or 170 gigawatts if it adopts tougher climate targets.

Birol said offshore wind would not only contribute to generating clean electricity, but could also offer a major opportunity in the production of hydrogen, which can be used instead of fossil fuel gas for heating and in heavy industry.

The process of making hydrogen from water uses huge amounts of electricity but abundant, cheap offshore wind power could help produce a low-cost, zero-carbon alternative to gas.

In the North Sea, energy companies are already planning to use the electricity generated by giant offshore windfarms to turn seawater into hydrogen on a floating “green hydrogen” project, backed by the UK government. The clean-burning gas could be pumped back to shore to heat millions of homes by the 2030s. The UK has committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The overlap between the UK’s declining oil and gas industry and the burgeoning offshore wind sector could offer major economic benefits for the UK, Birol said.

“Offshore wind provides a huge new business portfolio for major engineering firms and established oil and gas companies which have a strong offshore production experience,” he said. “Our analysis shows that 40% of the work in offshore wind construction and maintenance has synergies with oil and gas practises.”

We have some news… about how we will respond to the escalating climate crisis – we will not stay quiet. This is the Guardian’s pledge: we will continue to give global heating, wildlife extinction and pollution the urgent attention and prominence they demand. The Guardian recognises the climate emergency as the defining issue of our times.

Our independence means we are free to investigate and challenge inaction by those in power. We will inform our readers about threats to the environment based on scientific facts, not driven by commercial or political interests. And we have made several important changes to our style guide to ensure the language we use accurately reflects the environmental catastrophe.

The Guardian believes that the problems we face on the climate crisis are systemic and that fundamental societal change is needed. We will keep reporting on the efforts of individuals and communities around the world who are fearlessly taking a stand for future generations and the preservation of human life on earth. We want their stories to inspire hope. We will also report back on our own progress as an organisation, as we take important steps to address our impact on the environment.

The Guardian made a choice: to keep our journalism open to all. We do not have a paywall because we believe everyone deserves access to factual information, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.

We hope you will consider supporting the Guardian’s open, independent reporting today. Every contribution from our readers, however big or small, is so valuable

Climate Change

Letter to the Editor from the East Hampton Star, 15-Oct-19

October 10, 2019

To the Editor,

The most effective lies are those that begin with something that is true. The letter in the Oct. 3 Star by Mr. Walter Donway is a case in point. He states that the climate has changed in the past, before humans were emitting greenhouse gases. That’s true but the conclusions he draws are false. Past climate changes, obviously with natural causes, generally took many millennia to play out, and they were often accompanied by mass extinctions.

In the present case, the scenario is playing out over decades — much shorter periods of time. And now we have more than seven billion human beings who have occupied every niche that the existing climate could support. Many of the most populated regions will become less able to support humans, and this will result in mass migrations that will make the refugee crises of this decade seem puny by comparison.

This is a big reason why our military is very concerned about climate change. It’s also why 66 Republicans joined the Democrats to defeat an amendment to the last defense appropriations bill that would have prevented the Pentagon from considering climate change in its strategic planning.

Mr. Donway also takes aim at climate models. Here again, he starts with the truth that models have shortcomings. If the only evidence for climate change came from models, I’d be a skeptic, too. Models are just one piece of the puzzle. The precisely measured increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, its correlation with the emissions from combustion of fossil fuels, the steady increase in global temperatures, and the shifting of the ranges of many species as they attempt to adjust to the changing climate, are solid pieces of evidence that have nothing to do with models.

What models contribute is an understanding of the complex mechanisms that together influence the climate. Models also tell us which uncertainties are most important and which ones can be safely ignored. The role of clouds in the climate system is one very important area where we need to refine the science, but the uncertainties here only lead to uncertainty about whether climate change will just be very bad or downright catastrophic.

It is quite possible that Mr. Donway really believes what he is writing week after week, just as many an isolationist in the 1930s really believed that Hitler was not a threat, but their beliefs didn’t change the reality. It’s probably too much to ask him to reconsider, but the rest of us don’t have to follow along.

Our young people have the most to lose, and they are beginning to lead the fight for sanity. Thank God for them.

JOHN ANDREWS, Sag Harbor

Authoritative Data

APPEARED YESTERDAY IN THE EAST HAMPTON STAR.

Fourteen Percent
Amagansett
September 1, 2019

To the Editor:

If you were enjoying a glorious ocean beach day, or hoeing your garden in hot sun, you might think East Hampton could achieve energy sustainability just by exploiting solar power. You would be wrong. Gordian Raacke, former executive director of the federal court-appointed citizens advisory panel created in 1993 to represent Long Island’s electricity consumers, has been studying the options for the last 26 years.In 2014, Raacke advised East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell and the town board that they could not reach their goal of full sustainability through solar power alone.

In 2018, Raacke updated his research in a highly technical study of the estimated achievable potential of renewable energy sources over five years within the geographical boundary of East Hampton Township. Using authoritative data sources, the study assumed solar panels of every known type covering every feasible site in East Hampton, whether on rooftop or ground. It estimated that solar could provide a maximum 14 percent of annual electricity consumption over the next five years. For full sustainability the bulk of our power would need to be generated by offshore wind.

The reasons are plain. Much of East Hampton, ground and rooftop, is covered by woods and forests. Most of the sunny open space that could support panels on the ground is protected by law from further development. The rest is privately owned property too expensive for the town to rent or buy.

Our town board faced hard facts when it decided in 2014 that the town would need a major infusion of wind power to meet its sustainability goal. The current town board is doing the same. So should members of our community to resist the impacts of climate change on our beautiful environment.

Sincerely yours,

JEANNE FRANKL

A letter from Ashley: I am mobilizing (19 yo Riverhead student)

My name is Ashley Ambrocio. I am a member of Drawdown East End and Riverhead EAC (Environmental Advisory Committee).

When I learned of the magnitude of the climate crisis, I decided that I will not sit and watch.

When people hear about the negatives on this topic, they often cocoon or ignore it, because it seems like a problem to big too solve. It’s not “their problem”. I could not be one of these people because I do not have the luxury of not being affected by this crisis.

I have dreams and aspirations, things that, when I am older, I would like to say that I did during my life. Greta Thunberg once said “That she was fortunate to be born in a time and place where everyone told us to dream big; she could become whatever she wanted to. She could live wherever she wanted to. People like herself, had everything they needed and more. Things their grandparents could not even dream of. They had everything they could ever wish for and yet, now, we may have nothing” This is a reality all too real for those that are millennials or younger.

Many young people are becoming aware of this crisis and are taking action in the form of the Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, and many more. I am mobilizing with these kids because we want to ensure that we have a safe and happy future to complete these goals that we all have.  Although we are not the ones who caused the problem, we are very determined to fix it. But we need allies. We need those who have been alive to see this crisis unfold, to help us to ensure that my children and my grandchildren have the opportunity of a future. There are solutions that involve individual action, collective action and moving governmental policy.  

What I ask is to find that passion and curiosity, to lend some of your time and energy, and to join a group like Drawdown East End or Win With Wind and help solve the crisis.

We aren’t winning against this challenge. We need to see that this is the time to act. We need to seize the opportunity and turn climate change around. We need to help the younger generations that are inheriting this crisis and the generations that will come after us. We need to give them a stable, safe, and thriving world.   

South Fork Wind Farm

Offshore wind farm
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomsonecology/15079751399/

Submitted by Alice Tepper Marlin. (letter to the editor of the EH Star, July 2019)

The wind farm proposed to be sited out of sight, 35 miles off our shores, can make a significant contribution to slowing the climate change that so threatens our beautiful seaside community and all life on our precious, unique planet. It is crucial to our town commitment to be powered 100% by renewables by 2030.

To my consternation, opposition is being skillfully fomented by a few individuals who, for various self-interested reasons, loudly promote misinformation and even disinformation about the project and the company behind it, sowing unwarranted fear and distrust.

The brouhaha is over the onshore route of the transmission line carrying the wind-generated electricity from the turbines to the East Hampton substation. The entire line will be under ground. I have seen the equivalent on Block Island, and it is hardly noticeable. All you can see are occasional manhole covers.

Yes, there would be a few months of wintertime construction for installation, but the route from Wainscott is only four miles long and half of it is in the railroad corridor. So this disruption is in no way a big deal. Just a few months ago, ten miles of water main were installed in Wainscott, and not a peep was heard to challenge it.

What about Orsted? Orsted is a Danish renewable energy company and a global leader in offshore wind. Its new partner, Eversource, is a premier transmission builder with 100 years of experience providing energy in the Northeast. Orsted supplies over 25% of the world’s wind energy capacity. It has experience successfully building thousands of offshore turbines in Europe. Fishermen in England, The Netherlands, and France report positively, they say that the fish love these artificial reefs. If these were oil rigs, there would be not only climate damage but also occasional spills killing thousands of marine animals. What harm can we even imagine from a wind spill? In 2018, Orsted won aN award for the most socially responsible companies in the world.

Independent of East Hampton’s decisions, there will be two dozen government reviews before construction can begin. These will provide detailed environmental and other reviews at a technical level above and beyond what one might reasonably expect at the local level. Numerous top environmental groups are participating in the process. In addition, East Hampton has the right to submit all our questions and concerns in these processes. The town Board has already filed a submission.

The South Fork Wind Farm will be able to generate enough power for 70,000 South fork homes.

Our region has the fastest growth rate for electricity use on Long Island. Forecasts indicate that that all the electricity generated by the South Fork wind farm will be required in our local region But even if that proves not to be the case, what portion serves homes and businesses here and what portion serves homes elsewhere matters not a bit to its lessening of global warming and of the acidification of our waters. Acidification from burning fossil fuels has already been a factor in driving the lobsters north and harms all life in the ocean.

We as citizens have a duty not only to our local community but also to the nation.

Let’s think globally and act locally: let our Trustees and Board members know that you want to be counted and will welcome the wind farm.

Alice Tepper Marlin

Climate Change: Youth Activists

Youth climate activist movement in the USA: Greta Thunberg’s reach is vast. Check out Greta’s story here.

The youth shall inherit the earth…and they plan to take care of it. The growing youth activist movement has continued to expand across the world, and politicians are taking notice.

Coming up in EAST HAMPTON, NY, is this event:

https://www.guildhall.org/events/hamptons-institute/

  • Talk
  • Monday, August 5 7PM $25-$55 ($23-$50 Members) per evening for panel only | Special Tickets $500 per evening includes premium seating and post-performance reception with panelists

Eligible for Student Rush Tickets

Purchase tickets at the Box Office; 631-324-4050; or Theatermania.com at 1-866-811-4111 158 Main Street
East Hampton, NY 11937 United States Buy Tickets

Produced by Tracy Marshall and Sheraton Kalouria

Panelists:
Dr. Michael Mann, Director of the Earth System Science Center, Penn State University
Alexandria Villasenor, a Co-founder of US Youth Climate Strike and founder of Earth Uprising
Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island

Our panel will address the latest science and focus on the young people around the globe that are taking action and impacting change.

Warmer Air, Heavier Rain, More Flooding

David Leonhardt writes in the NY Times about flooding in Grafton, Ill., a small town along the Mississippi River. Because of a bridge closure, the only other way for the vil­lage’s 1,000-plus res­i­dents is to the north via tens of miles of wind­ing, poorly paved coun­try roads that are barely wide enough to al­low a ve­hi­cle go­ing in each di­rec­tion,” The Wall Street Journal’s Erin Ailworth wrote recently. “A 20-minute drive to a gro­cery store now takes a few hours…”

It rained “heavily” all day long in East Hampton NY, on Thursday June 13th. One inch of rainfall according to https://www.localconditions.com/weather-east-hampton-new-york/11937/past.php The winds were out of the NE at about 10-20 mph. Nothing unusual, right?

I decided to take a drive down Gerard Drive. It is arguably one of the most sensitive areas to flooding and East Hampton Town has just completed an expensive fortification of the road to prevent ‘noreaster’ storms from crashing over the road in to Accabonac bay.

The road was passable with large puddles. About 50% of the private drive-ways were flooded.

Then I visited the cross section of Springs Fireplace Rd. and Gardiners Avenue, just by Springs Auto (Edgar’s place). This place usually gets flooded with every storm, at least in recent memory. No surprise:

This kind of flooding was rare 30-40 years ago when I first moved to East Hampton. Perhaps only with a hurricane? Now it seems more common.

To test this I tabulated historic data going back to 2000: a) total precipitation in inches for 6 months (January to June), b) average temperatures measured daily for the same 6 months (January to June). The linear trendlines computed by Excel over the 20 year period, show a slight increase of about 1 degree in average temperature and an increase of about 1 inch of rain per 6 months. Online source of data.

Inches of rain for 6 month period (blue) and average temperature for same 6 month period (red). Measurements are from Westerly State Airport, Rhode Island, about 15 miles north of Montauk.

Warmer air carries more humidity and this leads to heavier rainfall and flooding. It is happening locally and it is a clear and present danger.

Clean energy is one major way we can fight this trend.

From Kate Mueth on June 25th after a few hours of rain fall:

Why all the fuss?

This is a cross section (a real piece) of the existing Block Island cable for their wind farm, consisting of 5 wind turbines that produce all the energy for the island with surplus energy for the state of Rhode Island. It is on my kitchen table. It measures 7 inches in diameter. It is similar to the cable that will bring energy from the South Fork Wind farm ashore.

“Carbon-free New York by 2040” is the overriding goal. Period.

If the urgency of achieving this goal is not apparent to any readers, just look at the most recent local news: “Higher tides force Shelter Island Ferry to rebuild ramps” This is a very real cost of sea level rise here on the South Fork! Check it out via Newsday.com.

And this is just the beginning.

On the other side of the issue we have loud opponents of the South Fork wind farm:

1) wealthy homeowners, with mansions on the Wainscott beach, who oppose any cable coming ashore in their vicinity, clearly a case of NIMBY

2) fishermen that have been whipped up with scare tactics.  I note that there are only 2 commercial fishing boats out of Montauk that fish in the Southfork wind farm area (OCS-A 0486, near Cox Ledge) which is closer to Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard than to Montauk.  From Montauk it takes 5 hours to get there by boat and 5 hours back.

For all those worried about a disruptive cable running under the sea bed and coming ashore somewhere, I would point out that a larger electric cable already feeds power in to Long Island coming all the way from New Jersey.  This dates back to 2007!  Like a giant extension cord, this transmission cable, named Neptune, stretches 50 miles underwater from Sayreville, N.J., comes ashore at Jones beach and has been plugged into Long Island for all these years without any nefarious effects on, or off shore. It is a 10″ cable and provides 660 megawatts.  

Likewise LIPA imports power from New England on the 330-megawatt Cross Sound Cable, which runs underwater from Connecticut. Two older cables, the 600-megawatt Y49 cable and the 599-megawatt Y50 cable, also run under the Sound to the Island.

Initial concerns about the effects on the shell fish industry were apparently not a problem over all these years.

Read more here:

Climate Change & Food Supply

The New York Times has documented the loss of important crops (coffee!) in Central America due primarily to Climate Change. This is an economic disaster for farmers and their families many of whom are joining a mass migration north. Climate Change, which destroys crops on farms that were already marginal, is a major contributor to refugee desperation around the globe. The world could see over 1 billion climate migrants by the end of this century.” (The Lancet Countdown Report. October 2017). A Warming World Creates Desperate People.

Farms in the USA are also in trouble. “Farming is no different than gambling,” said Sarah Frey, whose collection of farms throughout the South and the Midwest grows much of the nation’s crop of watermelons and pumpkins. “You’re putting thousands if not millions of dollars into the earth and hoping nothing catastrophic happens, but it’s so much more of a gamble now. You have all of these consequences that farmers weren’t expecting.“From Apples to Popcorn, Climate Change Is Altering the Foods America Grows”

10 everyday foods in trouble:

  1. Tart cherries (Michigan) – under attack from spotted wing Drosophila, an invasive fruit fly
  2. Organic raspberries (New York) – spotted wing Drosophila
  3. Watermelons (Florida) – restrictive immigration policies could mean not enough workers from Mexico to work the fields
  4. Chickpeas (Montana) – tariffs
  5. Wild Blueberries (Maine) – erratic frosts and drought
  6. Organic Heirloom Popcorn (Iowa) – flooding
  7. Peaches (Georgia and South Carolina) – warm winters causing decreased crop
  8. Organic Apples (Washington) – fire blight, sunburn
  9. Golden Kiwi Fruit (Texas) – erratic freezes
  10. Artichokes (California) – warmer weather, improved conditions for pests like the artichoke plume moth

Judith Hope and David Posnett

Please Connect With Us

Our electricity currently comes from a mix of sources: Aging fossil fuel plants on Long Island, imported energy from “dirty” plants in neighboring regions and states,
and small local peaker plants in East Hampton and Southampton. These sources all contribute to air pollution and the Climate Crisis, and are subject to volatile “rate shock”. Doesn’t it make sense to begin the move to clean, renewable Offshore Wind Energy?

PLEASE CONNECT WITH US.
WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

You can reach WIN WITH WIND
by email: weneedwindenergy@gmail.com
On Facebook: winwithwind
Web: www.winwithwind.org

on this blog: winwithwind.blog

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is
success.”
Edward Everett Hale