A fresh-water wind farm is taking shape at Lake Erie and when completed will provide 20 megawatts and get on to about one gigawatt power by 2020. Huge individual turbines 300 feet tall, to be built by GE will be erected off Ohio, Cleveland. Better designs: These are special gearless super-efficient turbines, with three 176-foot long blades, which run with the help of a giant ring of magnets. The blades are longer due to strategically placed carbon fibre, and lighter too. Many moving parts like gearbox, coils and starter brushes are eliminated with resultant reduced maintenance. The giant magnetic ring array helps the turbine generate power even at very low speed.
Rejuvenating wind energy industry:
As land-based turbines are facing a lack of interest and demand, wind energy industry is facing a setback. This new-design turbines to tap the energy from off-shore wind can bring about a positive tilt to the industry. It has been estimated that off-shore wind potential from Great Lakes area only is 321,936 megawatts which is about 10 times the energy from all sources put together.
This wind farm project is resulting from a partnership between Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) of Northern Ohio and General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE). Costing US $100 million, this project will light up 16,000 homes. General Electric (GE) has been asked to supply the 5 turbines for this project. This project can be the harbinger of good times of GE along with another $300 million Saudi contract in the times of overall financial setback.
As per the report of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on offshore wind, an interesting factor came to surface. Wind blows strongest at midnight and with least force at midday and solar power is strongest at noon and almost nil at midnight. So with wind-power at night and solar power at day, we can have continuous generation of clean, renewable energy.