Offshore wind energy is becoming increasingly popular energy topic across the globe and the United States is no exception. Many U.S. states are looking to benefit from new offshore wind energy projects, and one of these states is also Virginia that is trying to convince the federal government about being a great place to put offshore wind turbines to the test with a $60 million to $80 million demonstration center.
The US Department of Energy is still deciding on whether to accept Virginia's proposal or not. In any case, building a center where offshore wind turbines would undergo different engineering and operational tests certainly sounds good as this could open the door for many new offshore wind energy projects.
As already said above offshore wind energy is growing in popularity in United States and in 2010 the first U.S. offshore wind farm was approved in Massachusetts.
Would Virginia make a good place for new offshore wind energy projects? According to the latest studies Virginia has an excellent offshore wind energy potential with class 6 winds, water depths under 30 meters, and what is also very important Virginia also has a ready access to the high-voltage electric transmission grid.
However Virginia is not the only country that wants to benefit from offshore wind energy as other Mid-Atlantic states are also competing. There could be also a strong protests coming from environmentalists who claim that new offshore wind projects will further endanger protected migratory birds.
This demonstration project would place fixed offshore wind turbines in three locations in shallow to intermediate waters. They would be located at the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel, near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and near the Chesapeake Light in waters off the bay's entrance. The main task of this project would be to assess how fixed wind turbines would withstand tropical storms, the impact of large wind turbines on birds, and their compatibility with the large military presence in the Hampton Roads area.