June 1, 2022
Alternating Current AC Vs Direct Current DC
Massachusetts politicians have again after the land-based wind fiasco put taxpayers in harm's way again crunching the US East Coast ocean wind cable ambitions.
Former Governor Deval Patrick committed Massachusetts to a goal of installing 2,000 Megawatts of land-based wind energy before 2020 as part of his plan to increase the supply of renewable energy, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and make Massachusetts a global leader in clean energy. This was an absolute failure and taxpayers are still paying today!
Note# Boondoggle: a wasteful and worthless project undertaken for political, corporate, or personal gain, typically a government project funded by taxpayers
Massachusetts placed commercial megawatt wind turbines in communities that required setbacks of up to 3000 feet. The worst placed wind turbines in Massachusetts and in the United States are in Falmouth which recently issued a demolition bid for the town-owned wind turbines. The current Governor Charlie Baker admitted the Falmouth “screw-up,” the Falmouth community is still on the hook for at least $12 million after being misled by the state’s original Pied Piper of wind.
Massachusetts installed less than 120 megawatts of wind power with most projects stopped or curtailed at night so people can sleep.
In addition to the land-based wind fiasco the former administration's New Bedford marine terminal, built as a Cape Wind construction staging area, has become a taxpayer-funded boondoggle still incomplete with no walking cranes, rail link, and a hurricane gate that won't allow offshore wind jack-up barges into the port. Today's wind turbines are up to ten times the size of Cape Wind turbines.
Today the Massachusetts Legislature is again in a rush to bring offshore energy to all the large cities including Boston. The offshore cable approach looks to be another land-based wind and New Bedford ocean wind port fiasco putting the cart before the horse.
The sensible approach is to run submarine cables from the ocean wind locations to the large cities using DC, Direct Current cables. Using DC cables allows for only a few large cables directly to the cities but is much more expensive for the foreign offshore wind companies. Placing the DC cables is a one-time application as the offshore wind grows they hook up to the existing cables.
What is being allowed by state and federal officials is to allow multiple ocean wind companies to place an AC, Alternating Current cable every time they have 400 megawatts of wind power. Current goals include installing 3,500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power in the state by 2035 which could result in ten or more cables as the wind farms grow. In other words, the ocean will look like a bowl of spaghetti. Who is looking out for the fishing community anyway?
State and federal officials are allowing the ocean wind companies to pick the low-hanging fruit by placing multiple Alternating Current cables. To get quick and fast results and save money the wind company places one AC cable for each stage of the project resulting in a maintenance nightmare at a later date. There should have been one major plan and one installation of DC cables for 3,500 megawatts of power.
In addition to allow the wind companies to pick the low-hanging fruit and save money results in onshore cable landings on Cape Cod and then over the bridge and up to Boston rather than submarine cables to their destinations. This land route to Boston is already antique by power standards and will quickly be overloaded by ocean wind companies. ( see red overloads map) Massachusetts taxpayers and electric ratepayers will ultimately have to pay to upgrade the land-based electric grid to Boston and elsewhere saving the wind companies the costs of ocean submarine cables!
The current incorrect plan short term on the left picture shows 9 cables or more x 400 Megawatts each a High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) cable bundle.
Already an issue is the 400 Megawatt AC land route at Falmouth. The Falmouth route has according to news sources been dropped over electric magnetic fields in residential neighborhoods and an onshore power plant the size of a shopping mall with a public meeting in Falmouth on June 8. Falmouth is ground zero for poorly placed wind turbines in the United States with the courts shutting them down as a nuisance. The Falmouth offshore power plant will generate 110 decibels of noise the same as the town-owned wind turbines.
The current AC plan picture shows significant onshore transmission overloads ( Red). The result of the overloads is taxpayers and/or electric ratepayers will have to pay for electric infrastructure upgrades to get the power from Cape Cod to Boston over land.
The planned correct offshore grid plan long term on the right shows 3 cables x 1,200 Megawatts each High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable bundle'.
An ocean cable to Boston was the final destination for the power. All the power goes by way of submarine cables to their destinations.
This result is minimal onshore transmission overloads and little cost to electric ratepayers and/or taxpayers.
The Direct Current plan puts all the electric cable costs on the ocean wind companies and not the Massachusetts ratepayers.
The submarine cable cost is taken on by the offshore wind companies with whatever help the Massachusetts legislature is proposing.