Google and investors Good Energies and Marubeni are trying to kick-start a ground-breaking project to build a 350-mile cable on the east coast to power offshore wind farms. When built, it will be one of the largest projects of its kind in the U.S., and is an example of how a few pioneer investors can seed a market. But how do the gigawatts, dollars, and price points break down? Here’s Google’s offshore wind investment by the numbers:
6 GW (or 6,000 MW): The amount of clean power capacity that could be generated by the offshore wind farms that would be built next to the wind power transmission backbone.
$5 billion: The estimated cost of the entire transmission line.
$1.8 billion: The estimated cost of the first 150-mile portion.
60,000 MW: The potential offshore wind capacity of the entire Mid-Atlantic region.
54 GW: The potential offshore wind capacity of the entire U.S. coasts according to DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab.
1.9 million: The number of homes that could be powered by offshore wind farms that would be built next to the transmission line backed by Google.
Tens of millions: The amount of the initial investment from Google, Good Energies, and Marubeni.
350 miles: The length of the cable that will extend offshore from New Jersey to Virginia.
10-15 miles: The planned placement of the wind turbines offshore that will connect to the Google-backed transmission line. Supposedly, the placement of the backbone will enable the wind turbines to be built farther offshore than other installations, meaning there is less chance for complaints from residents with ocean views.
$2,500 per kilowatt to $5,800 per kilowatt: The high capital costs of offshore wind power from 2007 through 2009, according to the DOE.
9 cents to 25 cents per kilowatt hour: The average price of offshore wind farm power.
5 cents to 8 cents per kilowatt hour: The average price of onshore wind power.
Under 5 cents per kilowatt hour: The average price of coal power (without factoring in the price of carbon and other environment costs).
5 to 10 to 20 years: The amount of time it can take for a transmission project to get financed, approved, and built, depending on size and region.
20 percent: The percentage of electricity that the DOE wants to come from wind power in the U.S. by 2030.
$119 billion to $188 billion: The amount that grid fluctuations and outages cost yearly, according to a 2005 report from research firm Primen, now part of EPRI Solutions. Transmission lines can be used to help regulate these fluctuations and outages.
43,000 jobs: The amount of jobs created if all of the offshore wind capacity in the U.S. was tapped.
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