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Researchers Warning about Hurricane Effects on Offshore Wind Farms to be Built by Government

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Whoever saw a wind turbine in action and a storm in action can imagine how it would be like these two met – and they do, on a regular basis. Not few wind turbines have been destroyed by powerful storms, but hurricanes could be even more fatal to them, they the poor expensive sticks rising out of the sea have a 50% chance of survival over a 20-year period.

Although they know this, the US Department of Energy don’t seem to care much, as they have already planned for a new wind turbine to be built in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. The wind farm is part of the plan intended to bring at least 20 percent of the energy generated in the U.S. from alternative sources, of which one-sixth is to come from offshore turbines.

The alarm signal has been raised by Stephen Rose and his team from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, who modeled how the turbines could get destroyed  by hurricanes in the next 20 years. They concluded that only half of them will survive to the harsh weather (each wind farm costs some $175 million).

The researcher is not at his first attempt to simulate the effects of such extreme weather on wind turbines. In 2007, he predicted high risks associated with the erection of a multi-million dollar lease for a wind farm site near Galveston, TX.

I guess the government and any interested parties should take these advices into account, for not wasting the taxpayers’ money and offering alternative energy a steady, positive image over time.

[via newscientist]

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