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Blog & News

June 14th, 2024

Global Wind Day

Author: Jessica Druze, WPIT
June 15th is Global Wind Day, bringing awareness to wind power, a renewable energy resource that is rapidly growing. As one of the most promising alternatives to fossil fuels, wind power offers a sustainable solution to our energy needs while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There is now more than 153 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity installed in the USA and over 906 GW of wind power worldwide. The advancements in wind turbine technology have made it more efficient and cost-effective, enabling countries worldwide to harness this clean energy source. Celebrating Global Wind Day highlights the importance of continuing to invest in and support wind energy projects to ensure a more sustainable future for generations to come.
The transition to renewable energy sources is an imperative step toward mitigating climate change and ensuring a sustainable future. Policy initiatives for wind energy in the USA have been instrumental in fostering the growth and development of this renewable energy sector. Federal tax incentives, such as the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), have played a crucial role in making wind energy projects financially viable by reducing the cost burden on developers. Additionally, state-level Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) require a certain percentage of electricity to come from renewable sources, further driving demand for wind power. The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Vision report outlines strategic goals to expand wind energy, including advancements in technology, improved grid integration, and environmental sustainability. These policies collectively support the continued expansion of wind energy, aiming to enhance energy security, create jobs, and reduce carbon emissions across the nation.
Several coastal states like California, New York, and New Jersey have developed policy initiatives to increase offshore wind energy on their coastlines to meet their climate goals and provide benefits to their communities. Additionally, onshore wind power is established throughout the US and continues to grow as the energy demand grows.
Wind turbines produce energy by converting kinetic energy into electricity. Sensors on the top of the wind turbine measure the wind speed and direction. The sensor signals yaw motors in which direction to turn to point the nose in the wind. A high-speed shaft inside the turbine drives the generator which converts kinetic energy into electricity. A frequency converter synchronizes the generated electricity to the grid. A transformer amps up the voltage before the electricity is transmitted. For offshore wind, the electricity travels through submarine cables to a substation where several arrays of wind turbines are connected. The energy is then transmitted to the mainland power-grid where the energy can be used by homes and businesses.
Before a wind energy project can be constructed, site characterization surveys and studies must be conducted. These studies include but are not limited to: natural resources such as birds, bats, marine mammals and sea turtles, protected species, and wetlands; historic, cultural, and archaeological resources; socioeconomics; air quality; noise and vibration; coastal zones; navigation safety; and more. Additionally, the appropriate state or federal permits must be secured prior to approval of the project construction.
The future of wind energy in the U.S. looks bright, with both onshore and offshore wind playing critical roles. The Biden administration has set ambitious targets for offshore wind, aiming for 30 GW of capacity by 2030. This initiative is anticipated to propel technological advancements and lower costs, making wind energy progressively more feasible.
As the nation moves towards its renewable energy goals, understanding and leveraging the strengths of both onshore and offshore wind will be crucial. The combined efforts in these sectors will not only help reduce carbon emissions but also create jobs, spur technological innovation, and enhance energy security.
Great Ecology can assist with several components of wind energy projects including:
  • Nearshore aquatic natural resource surveys
    • Macroinvertebrate community assessments
    • Fish surveys
  • Onshore terrestrial natural resource surveys
    • Vegetation and wildlife surveys
    • Wetland delineations
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Sediment characterization/contaminant surveys
  • Environmental planning
    • Convening expert panels
    • Federal & state permitting
  • Pre/post construction monitoring
  • GIS & UAV mapping/modeling
  • Restoration and mitigation design & implementation
Great Ecology’s Hell’s Kitchen Lithium Production & Clean Power Project is providing a broad suite of environmental consulting services to CTR for the planning and permitting of an integrated lithium extraction and geothermal power project based in Imperial County, CA, adjacent to the Salton Sea. Additionally, Great Ecology is providing environmental monitoring, habitat mitigation planning, and design services for the final segment of the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) power transmission project on Randall’s Island, intended to provide renewable energy to New York City. The project’s impact area traverses a portion of the Bronx Kill and an adjacent tidal wetland, previously designed and constructed by Great Ecology in the mid-2000s.