Floating wind farms in Washington
- Apr 18, 2022 4:04 pm GMT
Scrolling through my newsfeed this morning, I came across an article in the Seattle Times about a newly proposed floating wind farm off the Olympic coast. Here’s the basic gist:
“The proposed site — dubbed the Olympic Wind project — would provide 2,000 megawatts of clean energy to 800,000 homes, according to the developer. If all goes the company’s way, construction would begin in 2028 and the wind farm would become operational in 2030.”
The project would represent the pacific region’s first big foray into offshore wind. Unlike the country’s Atlantic coast, the West’s coastline features a steep drop off from the continental shelf that makes traditional wind turbines, held up by steel pillars, unfeasible.
Floating wind farms, however, a relatively new technology, aren’t constrained by deep waters. Floating farms have become popular on the east coast, but have yet to land out west. The proposed Olympic Wind project would be significantly bigger than any existing floating wind farm in the U.S. right now.
While floating wind farms seem to provide a great opportunity for many regions wishing to cut emissions, I do wonder if they make sense for western Washington. The Seattle area, afterall, boasts some of the richest hydrogen resources in the country. Does it make sense to invest so much time and money in a new technology when the region’s energy portfolio is already far cleaner than most?
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