Offshore Wind Power : A New Brand of Farm for Southern Delaware


offshore_wind_turbine.jpg
(Jenkins)

Introduction


Imagine a future in which the United States is cut off from outside oil sources, and internal sources are depleted. The U.S’s dependency on oil leaves it in a difficult position in a situation such as this. What other sources of energy are available to use in this scenario? Nuclear, hydro thermal, and many others forms of alternative energy exist, but what about offshore wind power? The idea has been tossed around in some areas of the world, and in various other countries, actually tested and used. However, as with any idea about energy in today’s society, there are two different standpoints regarding offshore wind power has both pros and cons, just like any other source of energy, and is a debatable subject. Such a debate has recently been brought to our state, with wind power proponents pushing to bring a new brand of farm to Southern Delaware: an offshore wind farm. As can be expected, Delaware residents and legislatures have mixed feelings about this project. Although it faces some opposition in our region, offshore wind power can be a positive attribute to our state, because it could cut down on greenhouse gas emissions while providing Southern Delaware residents with a clean, renewable energy resource.

NOTE THE REPETITION IN THE SENTENCES I'VE BOLDED ABOVE. ALSO, CAN YOU MAYBE USE THE FARM METAPHOR AS AN INTERESTING WAY TO START THIS OFF?



Background: Wind Power


What is Wind Power?


The idea of using the wind as a method of energy and propulsion is not a relatively new idea at all. People have been using the wind as a form of energy since ancient times. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the first instances of using the wind as a form of energy were for the means of transportation. The administration continues, stating that “five thousand years ago, the Egyptians began to use the energy of the wind to sail their ships down the Nile river." In "Wind Power," the EIA explains that after our ancestors realized that the wind was a good energy source, more ideas of how to capture the wind's power were contemplated. As a result a large structure, the windmill, was created. Windmills were first used in Persia, and later improved upon by the people of Holland. Due to its success in Holland, the idea of windmills made its way over to America.

Eventually, the administration states, the idea of using large windmills to produce energy made its way to other parts of the world. America was one of the many places that adopted the idea of windmills and improved upon it. The article explains that in our country, they were used mainly on farms in order to more effectively “grind wheat and corn", to pump water, and to cut wood at saw mills” (Wind Energy). The EIA continues, stating that it was not until later that the idea of using the windmills to produce electricity was realized. “Around the 1920’s was when the windmill began to be used to transport electricity to areas that did not have electric service.” However, the article states, the practice of using windmills to produce electricity was not widely accepted at that time. Eventually, the practice was discontinued in order to make way for other methods such as electrical power plants (Wind Energy).

In "Wind Energy, " the Energy Information Administration explains that during the 1970’s, when the oil shortage in America began, the idea of using windmills to produce electricity was reinstated. Different parts of the country, including California, began to look into alternative ways of producing energy. Emphasis was also put on methods which would be easier on the environment. According to the EIA, in California, wind farms were built in order to create energy without harming the environment. California was also attempting to counteract the effects on the environment caused by the increasing amount of people and cars in the area. This state became the pioneer of wind energy and today “California still produces more than twice as much wind energy as any other state” (Wind Energy).

Why is Wind Power Used?


There are many reasons why people are making an attempt to make wind power a success. Wind power has almost no negative side effects on the environment or the people surrounding them. Many of the benefits are “wind turbines produce zero greenhouse gas emissions, zero air pollution, and zero waste product” (Easterbrook 1). The next reason has a good part and a bad part to it. Wind turbines can vary in size greatly. The largest wind turbine in the world is around twenty stories tall, and consists of three blades with each blade being a touch over one hundred yards in length. This enormous wind turbine is in Hawaii, where there are great sustained winds all year long. Now what are the down sides to have a wind turbine this big? First, this wind turbine could not have been very cheap to construct, and in reality none of them are. Wind turbines are very expensive to build. That is the bad side of wind turbines. The good part is once these massive structures are assembled there is no need to fuel them with gasoline, and they do not need much maintenance. The only maintenance needed is the general up keep to keep these machines in good working condition.

we need to cut that paragraph out, it is useless because we talk about those things in the body paragraphs. instead, we need to talk about the success of OFFSHORE wind power specifically, and touch upon the projects in Denmark, Spain, Germany, etc.

THIS ISN'T RELEVANT TO THE SUBHEADING. ALSO WHERE IS THIS INFORMATION COMING FROM? CITE SOURCES.

Ultimately over a long period of time the big benefit of the wind turbines is they do not need to keep being fueled. With the constant increase in gas prices today that is the main benefit over something else such as large electrical generators that need to run on gasoline.



The Delaware Project



In recent months, proposed Delmarva Power energy cost increases have left the state of Delaware searching for an alternative energy source.

SOURCE?

According to House-Layton, after the company announced a projected fifty nine percent cost inflation in the fall of 2006, the Delaware General Assembly passed legislation requiring that the company secure a contract with a new power source, one which could provide energy to Delaware and guarantee stability in prices. In her aticle "Power Sourcein the Wind? Proponents Hail Offshore Turbines as Energy Source, " she tells her readers that Bluewater Wind was one of three companies who entered bids for a long-term energy contract with the area’s largest power company, and was the winner of the bid. The company proposed two possible two hundred-turbine wind farms off of Delaware’s coast in the Atlantic Ocean, with views from Bethany Beach or Seashore State Park. She continues to explain that these turbines will provide electricity to one hundred and thirty thousand Delaware citizens.

SOURCE?

The Bluewater Wind proposal was challenged by two others, one by New Jersey based NRG and one by Conectiv Energy. NRG’s plans involved a coal-to-gas “gasification” plant, and Conectiv proposed a power plant (House-Layton). Delaware citizens, particularly those from Sussex County, generally supported the wind proposal. According to Shrogen, most appealed to the thought of stable energy prices, as well as zero greenhouse gas emissions. Although some concerns were raised by Delawareans, citizens overwhelmingly prefer slight obstructions to the overwhelming benefits of offshore wind farms, with eighty percent in support of wind farms, and only four percent against. Hundreds of citizens have shown their support at public hearings pertaining to the project. Many hope that Delaware will continue its tradition of being “first” and become the home to America’s first offshore wind farm (Shogren).

INTRODUCE BORROWED MATERIAL THROUGHOUT

i think that we can still use this, perhaps expand on it some more since it is the focus of our paper. if not, we definitely need to emphasize the DE project in our body paragraphs.


Concession


There are various shortcomings of the Delaware Wind Proposal, and the proposal's opposition justifies the reasons for their opposition. They discuss the fact that the wind turbines require electricity in order to produce electricity. The windmills are also very expensive to build, and some think that the money isn’t worth it.

THIS NEEDS DEVELOPMENT. WHERE DOES THIS INFO COME FROM? WHAT ARE SOME SPECIFIC THINGS PEOPLE HAVE SAID? WHAT ARE SOME SPECIFIC FIGURES IN TERMS OF EXPENSES? FOR A LONG PAPER LIKE THIS, TWO SENTENCES OF OPPOSITION ARGUMENTS IS NOT SUFFICIENT.

These two examples are hardly enough to make a valid argument resisting the construction of these valuable sources of energy. The wind turbines produce far more electricity than they consume, rendering the argument useless. The amount of power required to operate the turbine pales in comparison to the electrical output over its lifetime.

SPECIFICS???

In addition, the turbines will end up paying for themselves in a matter of years, due to the amount of revenue built up by the production of electricity. Also, non-supporters of the project point out that wind turbines cannot be used as a source of constant energy, and don’t produce enough power to support the entire nation. The fact is, wind power was never meant to be a replacement for the current sources of energy, only a supplement that will be used to relieve pressure and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. The number one argument of the opposition has always been the fact that the turbines are unsightly and noisy. One, the benefits of a wind power energy source far outweighs its visual shortcomings. The closest wind turbines will only be partially visible on perfectly clear days. And two, none of the mills will ever be close enough for anyone to hear them. Though these arguments present problems that need to be dealt with by the designers, they are not enough to frown upon the construction of these clean renewable energy sources.

we should just talk about the points of critics here, but i think that we should just do mini-concessions before our body paragraphs to strengthen the essay and emphasize our point.

IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A SEPARATE SECTION LIKE THIS IT NEEDS MUCH MORE DEVELOPMENT. IF YOU HAVE MORE TO SAY AND SHOW ABOUT THESE POINTS, YOU MIGHT ADDRESS THEM FULLY ONE AT A TIME INSTEAD OF WAITING UNTIL LATER TO BRING IN SPECIFICS. THUS FAR, YOUR PAPER ISN'T VERY STRONG ON SPECIFICS.


High Output, Minimum Maintenance


Ultimately over a long period of time the big benefit of the wind turbines is they do not need to keep being fueled. With the constant increase in gas prices today that is the main benefit over something else such as large electrical generators that need to run on gasoline. The benefits of wind turbines are not only no fuel cost and low maintenance. The other major benefits include the high output these machines can produce. Since the late 1940’s countries all over the world have come up with some very impressive designs of wind turbines. The main benefits from the new designs were that these modern machines could produce very large amounts of power with very low wind speeds. France began to develop some of the more advanced wind turbines of the era from 1958-1964. One of the earlier turbines they had made was called the Type Best Romani. This turbine was built in Paris and “its three bladed rotors had a diameter of 30 m, and the system rating was 800 kW at a wind speed of 16 m/s” (Spera 74). In short these wind turbines made enormous amounts of power with very little wind speeds. This not only was beneficial for the people that these machines were making power for, this made it easier to find locations to assemble the wind turbines because they did not need gale force winds to power them.

so what? we need to talk about why the high output/minimum maintenance is BENEFICIAL, and perhaps suggest that DE could sell excess energy (a result of high output) to other states, considering that our offshore wind power potential is greater that the amount of energy we use


Renewable Energy with Low Environmental Impact


Renewable energy sources are those that are continually replenished. According to the United States Government Accountability Office (GOA), there are various renewable energy options other than wind, such as geothermal (underground steam and heat), solar thermal (heat from the sun), hydro power (water), and animal waste (9).

THIS SOUNDS LIKE INFO THAT WAS IN THE INTRO. DO YOU NEED IT HERE?

Wind turbines produce electricity without any emissions or pollutants. In comparison, fossil-fuel produces harmful chemicals such as nitrous oxide, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide. These emissions cause acid rain, smog, and put pressure on our continually weakening ozone. Also, because wind is a naturally occurring element, there will never be a shortage of wind in the near future. In addition, wind farms are compatible with crops and grazing because they take up less area per kilowatt-hour than any other systems of energy.

SOURCE

Skeptics are hesitant to approve the Delaware Wind Proposal because it might have a detrimental effect on the avian population.

CITE SOMETHING TO SUPPORT THIS

These worries can be put to rest because the new wind turbines have blades that turn slowly, allowing birds to recognize and avoid the turbine before it's too late. According to Bjorn Lomborg, "In the United States, onshore and near-shore turbines kill 70,000 birds per year, compared to 57 million killed by cars and 97.5 million killed by collisions with plate glass". The UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) concluded that appropriately placed wind farms do not pose a significant threat to birds.

IS THIS FROM LOMBORG? I CAN'T TELL; IT SOUNDS AS IF IT MIGHT BE FROM ANOTHER SOURCE

A clean renewable energy source such as wind power alleviates environmental pressures while also providing a cost effective alternative to fossil-fuels and other non-renewable energy sources.



Safe Energy Alternative


Unlike other energy resources such as nuclear or the burning of fossil fuels, wind energy is a safe energy alternative that doesn’t hurt us or our environment. Nuclear energy is among the most dangerous of all energy resources. Besides the fact that the disposal of nuclear waste is hazardous, or the fact that nuclear power emits gasses, a nuclear breakdown is devastating to a population. In 1986 a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl suffered a major core breakdown, causing injury, death, and spreading radioactive waste all over a large area. Chernobyl still has traces of this waste today, 21 years after the breakdown (20 Years After Chernobyl). Our most known and popular energy resource is the burning of fossil fuels. The burning of these gases causes acid rain, unhealthy smog, and contributes to the greenhouse gas effect. Need help with a signal phrase Acid rain kills forests, weakens buildings and other structures, and harms fish if the concentration is high enough. The human population can be harmed by polluted air otherwise known as smog. The biggest of all issues related to the bringing of fossil fuels is the adding to the natural greenhouse gas effect (Alternative, Safe and Sustainable Sources of Energy). More and more of the sun’s energy is being trapped within the atmosphere, causing the Earth to warm. Warmer temperatures will cause ice caps to melt, raising water levels. This is particularly bad for Delaware, being that it is a coastal state. we need to expand upon this point. Wind Power has none of these risks, and can potentially lower the risk of sea levels rising if it can replace or reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

(Geared more toward DE project after tomorrows interview)

Fights Inflation


The primary concern of Delaware citizens and legislators, as well as Delmarva Power and Bluewater Wind, regarding this project is energy inflation control. According to Kate House-Layton of Delaware State News, Delmarva Power's announced fifty-nine percent increase in energy cost for 2007 is what prompted the Delaware legislature to take action, demanding that they find an alternative source of energy (House-Layton). Jim Lanard of Bluewater Wind argues that offshore wind power can solve this problem in Sara Smith's article "Bluewater Wants to Bring First Offshore Wind Farm to Delaware."
"The utility of wind, of course, is that once it's built, it's free forever...Delmarva Power wants a proposal that guarantees price stability. On day one, we'll know what the price is 20 years later because the price of fuel [wind] has remained the same: Free." Although it will cost an estimated eight hundred to nine hundred million dollars to build the windmills, wind will always be free (Smith). Delmarva Power customers, with the new wind farm in place, will be able to anticipate the price of each energy bill given that energy inflation will be eliminated.



Conclusion


Despite some opposition, the Delaware Wind Proposal is well on its way to becoming the first offshore wind farm in the United States. The advantages of this project are endless. Southern Delaware citizens will greatly benefit from the development of a wind farm off of our state's coast, while helping prevent an oil crisis in the future. These residents will profit from a renewable resource with high output, low maintenance and no inflation. At the same time, their actions will make U.S. Energy history. Our state will be one of the first to alleviate the burden of oil shortages, and begin our country's transition to use of cleaner, less costly energy sources. And the benefits of being able to live comfortably for less money and with less of an environmental impact will far outweigh the 'cons' of the Delaware offshore wind project.

if we are going to do some serious work on this paper, we need more information as well as new writing.


extra stuff page

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Works Cited



BE SURE EVERYTHING LISTED HERE IS ACTUALLY CITED IN YOUR TEXT. BE SURE THAT YOU'VE LISTED THINGS CORRECTLY. BE SURE EVERY LINK WORKS OR ELSE PROVIDE ME W/ A HARD COPY OF THE SOURCES



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Gustavson, M.R. Limits to Wind Power Utilization. 06 April 1999. Science Journal. 27 July 2007. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0036-8075%2819790406%293%3A204%3A4388%3C13%3ALTWPU%3E2.0.CO%3B2-V

House-Layton, Kate. "Power Source in the Wind? Proponents Hail Offshore Turbines as Energy Suppliers." Newszap.com. http://www.newszap.com/articles/2007/01/07/dm/central_delaware.dsn01.txt.

Jenkins, Jesse. "Offshore Wind Power in the U.S. Threatened- Please Act Now." WattHead. 31 July 2007. http://watthead.blogspot.com/2006/02/offshore-wind-power-in-us-threatened.html.

Lomborg, Bjorn. The Skeptical Environmentalist. 2001. Cambridge University Press. 27 July 2007. http://assests.cambridge.org/052180/4477/sample/0521804477ws.pdf.

Renewable Energy: Wind Power’s Contribution to Electric Power Generation and Impact Farms and Rural Communities. September 2004. United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). 30 July 2007. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04756.pdf.

Shrogen, Elizabeth. "Offshore Wind Proposal Gains Fans in Delaware." NPR. 04 May 2007. National Public Radio. 29 July 2007. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9984341.

Smith, Sara. "Bluewater Wants to Bring First Offshore Wind Farm to Delaware." Delaware Wave. 18 October 2006. delmarvanow.com. 29 July 2007. http://www.delmarvanow.com/bethanybeach/stories/20061018/2340074.html.

Spera, David A. Wind Turbine Technology . 1st ed. Vol. 1. New York: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1998. 1-638.

"Wind Energy - Energy From Moving Air." Energy Information Administration. 07 May 2007. Energy Information Administration. 29 July 2007. http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/wind.html.

Wind Energy Projects Throughout the United States of America. American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) 26 July 2007. http://www.awea.org/projects.

Wind Power. 26 July 2007. Montana Green Power. 29 July 2007. http://www.montanagreenpower.com/wind/index.html.