Friday, April 1, 2005
Tropospheric Wind Energy Project
As an alternative to the controversial Cape Wind Energy Project, scientists have developed a new plan for wind energy that harnesses the powerful upper atmospheric winds. Instead of building 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound, the turbines will be attached to weather balloons and suspended 10 miles up in the upper troposphere. The US Army Corps of Engineers has done a preliminary study that concludes that environmental effects will be minimal. The project will have no impact on Cape residents — it will not affect scenic views of the Sound, boating channels, tourism, or fish-mating behavior.
The plan calls for attaching a windmill to each of 130 tethered weather balloons that are attached to various rocky outcrops off the southern Cape coast. They will be located outside of existing commercial airline routes. The tether lines will be made of insulated high voltage power cables that conduct the generated electricity safely down to earth.
The Deer Island Water Treatment Plant in Boston will be adapted into a power collection and distribution facility. There have been no objections to this location so far because of the lack of inhabitants on the island. Ted Kennedy and Mitt Romney have given their whole-hearted support to the plan.
Final approval of the project rests on getting the blessing of the US Strategic Air Command (SAC), which is afraid that the balloons/wind turbines will be blown off course and will appear as unidentified aircraft to their radar systems. To avoid this problem, they are requesting that the network of windmills be tied together as one unit in the shape of the Easter Bunny.
The project is scheduled to come online on April 1, 2006.
© 2005 The Carlisle Mosquito