Wind could become next Virginia energy source

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Wind farming could be the future of energy. If one company has its way, windmills will soon spin off Virginia's coastline, producing power for millions of homes.

The winds of change are blowing. This week, Germany's first wind farm went online. Days later, a 130-turbine wind farm was approved in Massachusetts.

"This will be the first of many projects up and down the East Coast, as we build a clean energy future for our country," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, in a press conference.

Wind could ease our reliance on coal and natural gas which we now use to produce our electricity.  And Virginia is positioned to be a wind energy hub. The manufacturing base in Hampton Roads coupled with the large port makes it a perfect fit for a brand new industry.

"When you go offshore, you don't have the logistical problems of roads," said Theo Dewolff of Seawind Renewable Energy Corporation. "You can manufacture the on the coastline and they can go by vessel to where they are going to be installed."

Seawind Renewable Energy wants to install huge windmills off the coast of Virginia -- Dewolff says the federal waters off Virginia are perfect.

"We found areas where the water depth is not too deep and areas with the least amount of interference with other activities," he said.

The proposed towers would be 500 feet tall, 12 to 30 miles offshore -- connected to the grid by a sub sea cable. Theo says the main hurdle his company has to jump over is the Navy, which practices in the same waters.

"There is areas where there is live ammo," he said "And of course you want to stay aware form that."

Research must be done on potential impacts on marine life. So windmills won't go up soon.

But if all goes according to plan, Seawind Renewable Energy hopes to be producing clean electricity for millions as soon as 2015.

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