The Dec. 30 story “Fishermen: not so fast with wind farm” featured a wind-turbine farm that is being proposed to be located offshore in the New York Bite. Some local fishing-industry groups are opposing this project based on their concern about potential negative impacts to their fishing grounds. There may be other potentially broader negative consequences to consider about this project.
If these turbines are built to the latest scale for this technology, they will be massive. The circular cross-sectional area of the vanes alone will have a diameter of 300 feet, which will result in a total height even more than that. Many will be visible from Long Island and maybe even from Sandy Hook and the Atlantic Highlands.
More seriously, the proposed location will also be across shipping lanes into and out of New York harbor. That’s not a good idea because for maritime traffic to avoid traversing this wind farm, these shipping lanes will be compressed, which could likely increase the probability of collision in the approaches to the outer harbor.
Taking another more general perspective, the scale of this proposed project is a good example of a significant disadvantage with current renewable energy production technology – the relatively large amounts of land and sea surface areas required for wind and solar farms compared to conventional fossil and nuclear power stations. Since new fossil-fueled energy production is discouraged due to greenhouse gas emissions, the ensuing comparison is limited to that between nuclear plants and wind turbine farms.
Wind turbines depend on wind velocity, which varies considerably. According to current wind turbine technology they are most efficient at wind velocities around 22 mph, which occurs about 25 percent of the time. Nuclear plants operate at greater than 95 percent capacity 24/7.
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