12 Comments for this article

Tags: , , ,

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — When you think of offshore wind turbines and hurricanes, you might think flying blades of death hurtling toward the shore. But a new study shows offshore wind farms could actually tame beastly storms, making them less deadly and less expensive.

Mark Jacobson, an engineering professor at Stanford University, was looking into offshore wind power for New York when hurricane Sandy hit the state hard. It brought up a serious concern: would a hurricane damage wind turbines?

“Our hypothesis would be well, if you have enough wind turbines, then that might actually diminish the hurricane, say it wouldn’t actually destroy them,” Jacobson said in a phone interview with WWAY.

So Jacobson and his team used complex modeling to figure out the impacts large wind farms would have had on three mega-storms: Sandy, Isaac and Katrina.

They found that more than 80,000 50-foot wind turbines off the east coast could have reduced Sandy’s winds up to 87 miles per hour and its storm surge up to 34 percent.

“The offshore wind turbines would generate electricity, pay for themselves, reduce both storm surge and wind speeds helping to protect the city,” Jacobson said.

But while this might seem like a good idea, some say it’s simply not practical, and others worry about the wildlife in the ocean.

“I am overwhelmed by the concept of a huge wind turbine field in our ocean and the effect on marine life and the birds, and the amount of money to see if it might work,” said Jo Pickett, owner of Crystal South Surf Camp at Wrightsville Beach.

The two largest offshore wind farms being developed in the US are slated to have at most 200 turbines; a small number compared to the thousands factored into the study.

“Yeah, that’s a lot of wind turbines,” surfer Dan Williams said.

Williams and fellow surfer Joe Voshell say they worry turbines could impact the swells.

“I think it could definitely be a positive thing just as long as it doesn’t affect the waves too much,” Voshell said.

This technology might be coming to our shores.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has been looking into adding wind turbines off the coast of Brunswick County, but not to the extent the Stanford study says would help dampen the blow of a hurricane.

Comment on this Story

Leave a Reply

12 Comments on "Study: Offshore wind farms could tame deadly hurricanes"

Mac McAtee
2015 years 10 months ago

I think that the area where the wind farm is would become a bonanza for shark fishermen. Just think of all the dead seagull and pelican bodies that would be shredded and floating in the water.

Mac McAtee
2015 years 10 months ago

And one might want to consider that at most wind farms when the wind speed gets over 25 MPH the turbines are shut down. The blades are turned so they no longer act as a wing and the entire blade system stops spinning. There is no way at all they could take 90 MPH winds and remain functioning.

2015 years 10 months ago

From wiki the US has 60,007 MW of installed wind capacity, about 20 k wind turbines, is it that far of a stretch up to 80k, Its a big number but not necessarily out of the realm of future reality.


2015 years 10 months ago

And after we finish planting “only” 80,000 wind turbines offshore, we can start work on a giant step ladder to the moon so that we can harvest the green cheese!

On another note: Why would this reporter even imagine that if we were thinking of offshore wind turbines and hurricanes, we might be “think flying blades of death hurtling toward the shore”? What a strange thing to say. Someone’s been reading far too many comic books!

2015 years 10 months ago

These people must be smoking some of Colorado’s finest.

2015 years 10 months ago

This was an intriguing thought until it got to the conclusion that you would need 80K turbines to affect the hurricanes. Now it’s just a stupid idea.

2015 years 10 months ago

What they would have is 80,000 busted-ass up wind turbines after a hurricane passed over them!

2015 years 10 months ago

this is obviously being funded by pro off shore wind turbine groups (or one manufacturer). its absolutely silly to believe that they would actually stop hurricane winds! stanford research ain’t the quality it used to be. i think i’ll laugh about this all day. i don’t know how jacobson will keep a straight face when he presents this one…
“yes distinguished panel, i know i’m the only academia researcher that drove up in a new 7 series bmw, honest i made the xtra money in vegas….”

2015 years 10 months ago

Yeah…right. The easier solution would be to fly 80,000 C-130’s into the hurricane at once, flying opposite the rotation of the storm and you kill it.

Only after the pigs fly…

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 10 months ago

They have already tried that suggestion in which you speak (80,000 C-130’s) but it was 62,000.
All was going well on the “Reverse Rotation Process” until the intake of the jet assisted planes took on “Pigs” flying by…getting sucked into the intake of their engines. Frozen chickens and birds (no problem)…but Pigs are another story. At the end of the day…They had to drop the project :-(
Then there was the project…”Build a 1000′ high wall off the west coast of Africa”, so when the storms from the Sahara approached the coast…they would then reverse, in turn creating rain for the desert itself. But that fell through as well when they came up short on bricks.
Then there was the time they came up with “Drop Ice Into the Storm”……………………………………………>
This project will never get off the ground (or float) because…with the increase of rain fall a hurricane creates…CFPUA would “once again” be thrown into a “Lost Revenue” status…and be forced to raise rates due to the lack of water usuage in the Cape of Fear area from customers :-(
What was that commercial? “Don’t Fool With Mother Nature”.
That’s what’s wrong now :-( So…there you have it.

The End

Carol Kramer
2015 years 10 months ago

I’d rather go with whirligigs. Millions and millions of whirligigs. I’d also consider pinwheels because children like them.

2015 years 10 months ago

Another story to impress the “low information voter”. 80,000 turbines, huh?? Think about it. Think of the amount of the earth’s surface it would take to build that many turbines.
This reminds me of the “research” that showed the imminent danger from artificial sweeteners. Lab rats were given dosages of artificial sweeteners equivalent to hundreds of diet sodas per day for decades and, sure enough, the came down with cancer. Imagine that!!


Related News

Photo Courtesy: Facebook
7 days ago
0 Comments for this article
Walk for Wishes raises thousands for Make-A-Wish
Read More»
2 weeks ago
0 Comments for this article
Two rescued off Wrightsville Beach
Read More»
3 weeks ago
0 Comments for this article
Many stung by jellyfish during swim race
Read More»