321 Gigawatts of Wind Power Awaits Exploitation Off Michigan's Shores

kentish flats wind farm offshore wind turbine photo
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Phil Hollmann

Normally when grand statements are made about a nation’s offshore wind power potential the mind naturally conjures up briny images. In the US however, thanks to the Great Lakes though, another area of potential offshore wind development exists sans saltwater. A new report from Michigan State University’s Land Policy Institute says that, in Michigan alone, offshore wind power developments could generate 10 times more power than the state currently generates from fossil fuel sources: That’s 321,000 megawatts of electricity. There’s a catch though:
Figure Doesn’t Take Into Account Myriad Concerns
Like most of these power estimates, that is just the state’s potential based on wind speed maps, depths of water, etc. The report makes it clear that not all of that potential power may be feasible to exploit:

These projections do not account for potential areas of concern such as shipping lanes, sensitive aquatic habitat, historic sites (such as shipwrecks and others), recreational fishing needs, commercial fishing needs, transportation corridors, migratory bird routes, and potential areas subject to tribal and other treaty concerns, and other natural resource management concerns.

image: NREL

Michigan is one of the few states in the country with any chance of developing inland offshore wind power, as it controls 40% of the surface area of the lakes under its jurisdiction, the report indicates. An additional benefit of wind turbine development in the Great Lakes is that, compared to salt water, there is less potential for corrosion.

via :: Detroit Free Press and :: New Energy News
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