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Ongoing Discussion
Our online discussion led by Laura Morton from the American Wind Energy Association is continuing through January. Online commenters recently touched on the ability of offshore wind farms to withstand hurricanes (see below). OurEnergyPolicy's December 2019 live offshore wind event (featured with the photo above) also has information that is relevant to the online discussion (see comment , event page ).
Offshore Wind & Hurricanes
"I’ve thought about the potential damage to offshore wind from more extreme hurricanes, and while I don’t have any direct knowledge or expertise, the obvious solution would be to design floating wind turbines .... I would love to hear the pros and cons from those with experience." - Robert Perry , World Business Academy
" The first installed floating wind farm was i nstalled in Scotland & has already been through two hurricanes .... Whilst the wind turbines shut down for safety reasons during the worst of these winds, they automatically resumed operation promptly afterwards. A pitch motion controller is integrated with the Hywind turbine’s control system & will adjust the angle of the turbine blades during heavy winds, which mitigates excessive motions of the structure." - Robert Hobson , NKT
"So far nobody has come up with an affordable design of wind turbine for a big hurricane . That is not for the lack of trying–including efforts in Japan that can’t site wind farms offshore in Southern Japan because of typhoons. Taking on big storms implies wind turbines with massive added quantities of steel, concrete, & fiberglass.... "  - Charles Forsberg , MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering
"... Offshore wind farms are designed for the environments that they will encounter, including hurricanes, and because they are properly designed, will survive the storms. The builders of these wind farms are not going to get financing unless the bankers know they will see there return."
- Robert Hobson , Principal Designer, NKT
From his remarks at December 2019 OurEnergyPolicy event :
" The wind turbines will not withstand a Category 5 hurricane because they are not designed to because the return period on those is so far in between. Here in the Northeast, the return period of a Category 5 hurricane is something in excess of 100 years, while the design life of a wind farm is something in the range of 30-35 years. So in the case of our Block Island Wind Farm, the turbines are designed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane . Anything above a Category 3, we simply have insurance for. If we get a Category 4 or a Category 5 and there is a catastrophic loss, then we have the insurance fund set aside to repair those, and that condition has been accounted for in our permit applications. Now, it’s still over 100 years in returns between those periods. So anything less than that up to a certain speed is just a really good day for producing a lot of wind power." - Clint Plummer , Ø rsted

*Remarks paraphrased in the OEP Admin comment ; for this direct quote, listen to Question 1 (wind turbine durability) of the recording on the event page.
Offshore Wind Policy
We encourage additional comments on the following questions:
  • Would an offshore wind tax credit be the most helpful policy to support the development of the offshore wind industry? How much of a difference would it make to the growth of the industry?
  • How can the United States streamline the reviewing and approvals of offshore wind projects?
Consider adding your own comment. Or, reply to an existing comment thread:
New Publications
 The California Legislature's Nonpartisan Fiscal
and Policy Advisor
January 6, 2020
Center for Strategic and International Studies;
Blue Green Alliance
December 18, 2019
Find these new publications and others in the OurEnergyLibrary.
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Podcast Spotlight


Over the last ten years, climate change and energy policy has taken the spotlight in national and global politics. The last decade was marked by ambitious plans and nonstop political tug-of-wars in this area.

In this Politico Energy podcast , energy reporters give a review of the 2010s and a look at what the next decade of energy and environmental policy will look like.
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