Hurricanes pose risk to off shore wind farms?
sigh of relief. But soon, those offshore storms might give us something more to
Offshore hurricanes could demolish half the turbines in
proposed wind farms just off the USA's
coastlines, according to a study out Monday in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.
"We find that hurricanes pose a significant risk to wind
turbines off the U.S. Gulf and East coasts, even if they are designed to the
most stringent current standard," the authors from Carnegie Mellon University in
Engineer Stephen Rose and colleagues conducted the study in
response to a 2008 report from the U.S.
Department of Energy, which said that wind energy should ideally provide
one-fifth of all electricity in the USA by 2030. The engineers estimated that
over a 20-year span many turbine towers would buckle in wind farms enduring
hurricane-force winds off the coasts of four states — Massachusetts, New
Carolina and Texas — where offshore wind-farm projects are now under
Despite their record of death and destruction in the USA,
75% of all Atlantic basin hurricanes remain offshore and do not hit land,
according to Chris Landsea,
science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Wind turbines are vulnerable to hurricanes because the
maximum wind speeds in those storms can exceed the current design limits of wind
turbines, according to the study.