Proponents of clean and green energy know that wind power offers one of the best solutions for our future, but implementing it into the power grid is still a challenge. The Shepherds Flat wind farm in Eastern Oregon represents the largest wind farm in the U.S., generating 835 megawatts of power. However, instead of incorporating this power into the local energy grid, all of the 835 megawatts of energy is being sent to Southern California Edison in Los Angeles.
Offshore wind projects seem to be the most promising solution, but all wave and wind energy projects on the West Coast are still experimental and have not yet been scaled to large industrial applications. The waves and winds off of Washington and Oregon represent the greatest potential for long term renewable power and this seems to be the focus of several key projects.
Due to the deep ocean waters and steep coastal mountains, however, large scale production of wind energy from waves and wind will need some particular ingenuity. Successful wind turbine projects on the East Coast can be located well offshore in shallow waters, but ocean depths are over a mile deep in some parts of the Oregon coast. The answer seems to lie in the promise of floating turbines, just recently begun in a test project initiated by a company called Principle Power, Inc. out of Seattle to be located off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon.
Principle Power's proposed offshore wind project is is really a test pilot for floating wind turbines. The WindFloat Pacific Project includes five semi-submersible units which will be placed 16 nautical miles from Coos Bay, anchored to the bottom with mooring lines. If the project proves successful, large scale industrial wind projects could be part of the energy future.