Offshore Wind Power and Transmission Grid Expansion
Recent studies have shown that wind power has tremendous potential to meet growing electrical needs. Because wind patterns do not always correspond with electrical use, this potential can only be realized if a way is found to balance supply and demand.
A paper from researchers at University of Delaware and Stony Brook University, “Electric Power from Offshore Wind via Synoptic-Scale Interconnection,” explores a potential solution to this problem. Based on five years of wind data along the East Coast of the United States, the researchers determined that while winds shifted up and down the coast, they never stopped.
The researchers’ proposed solution is to connect strategically located offshore wind farms with an underwater transmission grid.
- The proposed transmission grid, called the Atlantic Transmission Grid, is a north-south transmission along the cyclone track across the U.S. East Coast.
- Despite the volatile wind power generated in the individual generators, the overall power volatility was moderated when a simulated transmission grid is built to connect them.
- Compared with utility-scale storage, a common transmission grid is initially more expensive to construct, but in the long run is more cost efficient.
Because the proposed transmission grid crosses several state jurisdictions, the authors suggest that future energy policies consider resource management on a regional level.
Tags: carbon, technology, infrastructure, renewable energy
Note to instructor: The suggested assignments are designed for flexibility. They can be used in whole or part and can be adapted to a particular task — for example, the newswriting assignments could be applied to the writing of the headline, the lead, the nut graph or the full story. Material from the assignments could also be combined with other material, for example, in the writing of a background, feature or local-angle story.
Read the University of Delaware and Stony Brook University study titled "Electric Power from Offshore Wind via Synoptic-Scale Interconnection."
- Summarize the study in fewer than 40 words.
- Express the study's key term(s) in language a lay audience can understand.
- Evaluate the study's limitations. (For example: Do the results conflict with those of other reliable studies? Are there weaknesses in the study's data or research design?)
Read the study-related New York Times article titled "Atop the Ocean, a Sea of Untapped Energy."
- Reporter's use of the study: Evaluate what the reporter chose to include and exclude from the study. Would the audience have acquired a clear understanding of the study's findings and limits from this article?
- Reporter's use of other material: Assess the material in the article that is not derived from the study. (For example: Does the reporter place the study in the context of other research and to what effect? Does the reporter include reactions to the study from other researchers or interested parties [e.g., political groups, business leaders, or community members] and are their credentials or possible biases made clear?)
- Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study.
- Spend 60 minutes exploring the issue by accessing sources of information other than the study. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study but informed by the new information. (Does the new information significantly change what one would write based on the study alone?)
- Interview two sources with a stake in or knowledge of the issue. Be prepared to provide them with a short summary of the study in order to get their response to it. Write a 400-word article about the study incorporating material from the interviews.
- Spend additional time exploring the issue and then write a 1,200-word background article, focusing on major aspects of the issue.