LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

The web's first ocean and offshore wind energy weblog. Continuously renewed, like the ocean itself.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Fund Seeks Investment in Alternative Energy Overseas Finding Few Alternatives Domestically

This Press Release dated November 4, 2003 announces the intent of the New Alternatives Fund, a socially responsible mutual fund, to expand its investment overseas by 20 percent (to 35 % of its assets). The reason?
The Fund's major interest is alternative sources of energy and the Fund managers suggest that the present US administration is not appropriately viewing or serving national environmental concerns. In the Proxy Statement filed with the SEC, Fund Managers state:
For example, more new large wind turbines are coming out of Europe (Denmark). European countries are sponsoring ocean energy (tidal, wave energy) (Scotland) at a greater rate than the United States. Competitive solar cells are coming out of the Far East (Japan) and organic food products are profitable in Canada. We seek more foreign investment opportunities to be made available to our Fund. For example, we expect that there may soon be opportunities to invest in companies involved with ocean energy. The foreign countries appear to us have more experience in that developing area of technology. The Fund's current foreign investments have shown reasonably good results in wind turbines, organic food and solar cells. Of course our orientation to alternate energy and the environment and our social concerns will remain the same.

It is too bad that similar opportunities have not been identified in the United States.

Cape Wind Permitting Takes Time

Believe it or not, it's been two years since Cape Wind Associates applied to the US Army Corps of Engineers to build a windfarm in Nantucket Sound. And as this article, Wind Backers Impatient As Corps Takes Its Time, Edward Maroney, Barnstable Patriot (10/31/03) reports, project supporters are beginning to grow impatient. For example, the issue of delays was mentioned by Seth Kaplan, senior attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, in an Oct. 20 letter to District Engineer Col. Thomas Koning that was signed by numerous other environmental organizations. The letter asks that a timetable for approval of the draft and final EIS documents be set as soon as possible, noting that an announced completion date of the draft EIS of early 2003 has already slipped. "This slippage undermines the credibility of the process and drains the energy and resources of the members of the public who are intensely interested in this review.," the letter states.

The Corps takes responsibility for the pace of the process, trying to evaluate neutrally whether or not to issue a permit for the project.

Will Offshore Wind Impact Seals?

Will offshore wind impact seals? This article, Seal Wears Headphones for Science, describes one way of finding out: Scientists in northern Germany are fitting a seal with headphones and electrodes to help them determine the noise impact of planned offshore wind stations. According to the article, the aim is to find out whether construction and operation of the wind-based power plants will adversely affect seals, whose hearing is up to 10 times more developed than that of humans.

Ocean Energy Is A Controversial Topic

This article,
Is There Enough Renewable Ocean Energy?
by Ann Marie Harmony, Executive Director, POEMS Inc. (posted at Energy Pulse (10/21/03) has been generating a good deal of discussion and controversy over whether ocean energy can serve as a viable source of alternative energy or not.

Alternatives Announced for Cape Wind

This press release,
Corps Announces Alternatives to Be Reviewed in Windfarm EIS
, Yahoo, 10/29/2003 discusses the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' announcement of the list of alternative sites that will need to be investigated as part of the Cape Wind windfarm Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). According to the article, originally 17 sites were identified by the public and federal, state and local agencies. The Corps then screened those sites based on five criteria: availability of renewable energy (i.e. wind power classification); ISO New England grid connection availability (connection point, transmission/distribution lines, efficiency/capacity); available land or water area; engineering constraints (constructability, geotechnical conditions, water depths); and legal/regulatory constraints (i.e. endangered species, shipping channels, etc.). Based on this analysis, the alternatives proposed include an onshore alternative at the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod, Mass.; three shallow water alternatives -- the applicant's preferred alternative of Horseshoe Shoal, and also Tuckernuck Shoal, and Hankerchief Shoal, Mass.; and the combined locations are New Bedford Harbor, Mass., and a reduced footprint at Horseshoe Shoal. The area south of Tuckernuck Island, Mass., will serve as a deep-water site.

On Shore Plants Prove Controversial in Britain

In the United States, onshore wind farms have been developed for nearly twenty years with little controversy - while recent offshore proposals like Cape Wind have generated opposition. In Britain, it's different - at least according to this report by Juliette Jowit, The Observer 10/26/03. According to the article,
plans for massive expansion of wind farms on British land are threatened by public protest - causing the government to urge that public funding be concentrated on supporting off-shore wind turbines and more futuristic wave and tidal power.

High Tech Park in Gulf Will Include Offshore Renewables

This blurb,
Dubai Plans Unique Hi-tech Park
, Gulf News (10/10/2003) describes a project planned for Dubai, described as "one of the most advanced parks in the Middle East." Among the planned features: an Alternative Energy Zone featuring displays of solar, wind, geo-thermal and tidal power.