Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wind farm planned for the Outer Banks

From the Myrtle Beach Sun News: Outer Banks wind farm planned.

Costs and benefits?

The article cites some huge R&D costs. What will we need to learn in order to understand whether or not this passes the cost-benefit test?


Kyle Borgemeister said...

Kyle Borgemeister

Many things still need to be assessed before a Wind Energy plan like this will be put into use. The things the article mentions such as the environmental factors include bird’s migration patterns as well as fish movements. Other factors taken into account are the costs of potentially scaring the fish further off the coast. This would mean fishers would have to increase their costs in order to catch the same amount of fish. An increase in the cost of fishing leads to less fishermen in the water. Another factor mentioned in the article is the need for underwater transmission cables costing $2 million per mile. The article also admits that with the 50 wind turbine towers proposed they will generate 200 megawatts, enough to power 42,000 homes. Will the cost of running the transmission line and the potential fishery crisis be covered by the 42,000 customers? If not will they be able to cover the costs with 150 turbines? There are many more potential costs and hazards to be discovered.

Anonymous said...

Also, after reading the article, it is easy to see that there are many known, and possibly unknown, costs associated with the building of such a wind farm. However, after reading the article it is unclear of how large the actually benefits are. It is hard to say whether the costs will outweigh the benefits but depending on how efficient the wind power is it doesn't seem as though it is out of the question. Especially considering that the wind technology is said to be renewable and "polliution free."

Anonymous said...

Above: Ryan D

Anonymous said...

This article does not address the alternatives. What are the costs associated with building an additional coal or nuclear power plant? What are the marginal costs and benefits of these options compared with those of the wind farm. Obviously, being a new technology, the external and marginal costs and benefits of a wind farm may not be calculable, but those of coal and nuclear plants are. Those figures should be published aside the projected costs of this wind farm. Additionally, I'd be interested in comparing all of those figures against the costs of making current infrastructure and buildings more efficient so that additional energy production is not needed.


Anonymous said...

Personally I think this is a great idea. There is also talk about offshore drilling in the near future in NC. Instead of continuing our dependence on fossil fuels I think using this money to build wind mills would be in NC's best interest. We are fortunate enough to have enough wind power off the shores of NC (some states don’t have any chance for wind power) and we should use this to our advantage. Also if NC could get ahead start in wind power there could be some huge benefits, including money from the government for using renewable energy. There really are not many negatives except the costs of building but if we could use the money from off shore drilling I think the benefits would outweigh the costs. The negatives of wind mills are usually the sight of them, sound, and the killing of birds and with the wind mills being so far off shore there will be no one to complain about the sight or sound. The birds may be a problem. -Maggie Yayac

Anonymous said...

In essence the wind farm seems like a good idea. Using a clean resource that is unlimited would be the ideal situation, however it seems as if the cost outweigh the benefits. This wind farm would service 42,000 home and would cost near 900 million dollars. However how much money would be taken away from tourism due to the eye sore in the sky? People retreat to the North Carolina beaches for the sole reason of being secluded on a beach with nothing but the sand and water. The cluster of giant metal fans will decrease the amount of tourism not only due to their sight but also because of the noise a wind farm can produce. Homeowners near a local wind farm in Oregon compare the fans to a freight train that not coming or going. Overall the idea of a wind farm would result in a decrease to a major assets value. Jenn Fogarty