Feds unveil plan to grow wind power while sparing rare whale from slaughter
Federal regulators on Wednesday unveiled a plan to modernize the nation’s offshore wind power production system, a move that promises to preserve a rare, endangered species while reducing costs and boosting green energy.
Under the plan, a new generation of state-of-the-art turbines will be built along 12 miles of Atlantic coastline, generating enough electricity to power 5 million homes. While the plan aims to avoid killing the Atlantic white-sided dolphin by far more than 80 years, it does not seek to stop the slaughter by the hundreds of thousands of whales each year in the U.S.
“It’s a new era for offshore wind power,” Mark Muro, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said in a telephone interview. “This is a game-changer.”
The proposal to modernize the nation’s offshore wind power production system will be issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the end of this month. It will replace regulations issued in 2005 that set a single-size turbine that produces power of 8.8 megawatts per megawatt-hour.
The new rules would include new turbines with a capacity of 4.1 megawatts, in addition to existing turbines that could produce up to 8.2 megawatts, according to the federal government. These new turbines would be more cost-effective and more flexible, the government said.
The FERC proposal will help promote America’s first offshore wind power industry and help conserve the nation`s unique, threatened wildlife.
“Every single year we kill an amount of energy equivalent to the entire energy output of the entire continental U.S. that’s off the coast of Maine. That is, out there, that’s killing our marine mammals,” U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, a prominent scientific organization, called the plan a