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White House unveils plans for wind farm in the Pacific Ocean off California's coast

Orionblamblam

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The details as given in the article are vague. *How* *far* offshore, and exactly where? Basically... who is going to be annoyed that their view just got mangled? That seems to be the permanent problem with offshore wind farms.

Also: 30 gigawatts is good. But it's *terawatts* that we need. I look forward to the plans for a wind farm a thousand times bigger than this one.
 

drejr

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The Murro Bay and Humboldt Call Areas are about 15 miles from shore minimum.

The article is also kind of misleading - these are local plans that have been in the works for a few years and need BOEM approval.
 

drejr

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The problem wasn't obstructing anyone's view but making a deal with the Navy, who definitely wouldn't like to see a wind farm 1000 times bigger.

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drejr

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They would be floating platforms - the ones off Fukushima are supposed to be able to take 65-foot waves.
 

starviking

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The general problem with these kind of articles is that they give general information, but don't divert to investigative journalism at all, probably because either today's journalists are incapable of doing so on technical matters - or their editors are not interested in it.

There are marvellous article waiting to be written, like how low the capacity of these farms are going to be, or how the grid will need reinforcement to handle the variable loads (Rememeber the Texas blackout?), or how these low-CO2 power sources are not replacing fossil fuel power, but low-CO2 nuclear power.
 

drejr

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Well, it's a national-level article of general interest. Having worked at a newspaper, reporters don't have unlimited resources or time (quite the opposite!) and "investigative journalism" requires plenty of both.

There are plenty of in-depth local articles and if you're actually interested a few seconds will get you more information than you might want to know. For example the article could have answered orionblamblam's "*How* *far* offshore, and exactly where?" with "The boundary of Call Area Morro Bay begins 24 mi offshore Cambria, California. The area is about 27 mi in length from north to south and about 27 mi in width from east to west. The entire area is approximately 311 square mi (199,266 acres)," then given a series of lease block protraction numbers but that wouldn't mean anything to the average reader.

Of course editors of general interest new sources aren't interested in technical matters - they tend to be keenly aware of the law of diminishing returns. The more and more technical the information the more and more time it requires to digest, write, and verify while being of interest to less and less people.
 
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Orionblamblam

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The problem wasn't obstructing anyone's view but making a deal with the Navy, who definitely wouldn't like to see a wind farm 1000 times bigger.

Compromise: have the Navy build and operate and have complete control over massive terawatt wind farms. They would be *noisy,* but also magnificent platforms to observe and dominate the nearby ocean. A string of a million floating wind turbines would form a fence that submarines would have a chore and a half to get past. And hard to argue that a terawatt of power wouldn't be a national security issue and thus relevant to the military.
 

starviking

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Well, it's a national-level article of general interest. Having worked at a newspaper, reporters don't have unlimited resources or time (quite the opposite!) and "investigative journalism" requires plenty of both.
The thing is, scientific or engineering-focussed investigative reporting doesn't need time, or resources. It needs some technical knowledge and higher-ups who are willing to publish.

There is little time required to type: 4.5 GW of clean electricity, but with the variability of wind, this may be closer to 1.5 GW.

I suspect the facts are that newsrooms are run hard, technically qualified reporters are not valued, and editors and owners are not interested in nuanced or accurate news which might affect stock investment decisions. I may not be correct though ;)
 

drejr

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There is little time required to type: 4.5 GW of clean electricity, but with the variability of wind, this may be closer to 1.5 GW.

According to whom? (This is a rhetorical question.) If you're using your own technical knowledge it's not investigative reporting or even news, it's analysis or opinion.

News requires sources, and sources require legwork, which takes much more time than typing.

This is really common sense. The broader your audience (both geographically and intellectually) the less the average reader will care about these kinds of details. If you want more nuance or specificity you need to go to a local news source or one targeted to the kind of people who care about the technical details. The local reporter, for example, may have a much more detailed and nuanced article even if she has less technical knowledge because the story is important locally - smaller details matter more to her narrower audience.

CNBC is mostly targeted towards investors so its non-financial articles are going to be short fast reads. There are more detailed articles out there even at the national level.
 
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dannydale

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CNBC is mostly targeted towards investors so its non-financial articles are going to be short fast reads. There are more detailed articles out there even at the national level.
I don't get why people keep wanting to link cnbc and ibtimes articles about technical or scientific articles. We don't roll up to a daycare and order margaritas and daiquiris, why should we treat news sources different? It has become simply annoying at this point that people do not.

Whether you are accusing the poster or the president of mental problems, this post is unacceptable either way. Take a break from posting for a few days.

Think carefully about forum rules before replying to this topic. It may have a short lifespan.
THANK YOU!
 

edwest2

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I'd rather not quote investor articles so as not to be seen as promoting anything. All of the technical information is out there. By the way, all investors care about is a sure thing and money. As the dollar value goes up, they want guarantees that whatever it is will work as advertised.
 

edwest2

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It's a new (ish) proposal. In the coming days, not weeks, as the current health crisis diminishes, the media, and US administration, will ramp up their announcements of new developments in alternative energy. Climate Change is the next end of the world, global disaster that will kill us all - maybe. And the mainstream media has made a commitment to 'Global Disasters All the Time.' Along with the usual death and killing.
 

starviking

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There is little time required to type: 4.5 GW of clean electricity, but with the variability of wind, this may be closer to 1.5 GW.

According to whom? (This is a rhetorical question.) If you're using your own technical knowledge it's not investigative reporting or even news, it's analysis or opinion.

I'll have to disagree. News is there to inform, so if the news writer has an extra depth of knowledge to add to a news piece, he or she should. Anything less than that is misinformation.
 

drejr

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If you're complaining about misinformation now, wait until journalists start sticking their "extra depth of knowledge" into stories.

A journalist covering a specific area should develop expertise in their subject matter, but they should use that expertise to expand their sources and cover all sides of a story with accurate and attributable sources instead of their direct personal knowledge.

Really the best reporter isn't one who knows a lot, though, it's one who realizes how little they know.

But I think you're expecting a bit much from CNBC given its target audience. Even the NPR article I read about this discusses most of the concerns raised here because NPR targets readers who prefer longer more detailed reads. The fact that an average reader spends a little over 10 minutes a day reading the news shapes the depth of coverage and how much of the inverted pyramid gets chopped off more than the reporter, particularly now that news sites know exactly how much time people spend looking at individual stories. For an article like this on CNBC I'd be incredibly surprised if the average page view was longer than 30 seconds.

There's one phenomenon that explains why nerds are never satisfied with general news coverage of science and technology stories - science and tech is the only topic where average reading time actually goes down as story length increases.
 
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Hood

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I live fairly close to the Walney Wind Farm, built in three stages, which was the world's largest at least twice and still one of the largest.
It covers 28 sq miles, is around 9 miles offshore and has a theoretical capacity of 1,026MW with an annual net output of around 1,300GWh. The turbines are anchored to the seabed with monopiles and easily withstand the gales we have here (at around a dozen 80mph gales annually).
Doesn't stop the RAF practicing its low level flying in the area and is located in a position not to seriously hamper shipping in the area.
So developments like this are not unfeasible or impossible to realise. They best place for these wind farms is offshore.

In contrast, Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 nuclear power stations (where the Walney cable joins the transformers for onward transmission into the National Grid) have a theoretical capacity of 1150MW and 1250MW (each site has two reactors). Both AGRs, Heysham 1 is set to close in 2024 and Heysham 2 in the 2030s. Due to refit schedules and unplanned shutdowns, its not often that both sites are operational at once. Whether there will be a Heysham 3 is unknown, personally I feel its unlikely for a host of reasons.

Morecambe Bay also has Britain's second largest natural gas deposit, probably with another decade to go before output stops. So we're generating all kinds of power here.
Can wind alone replace fossil and nuclear generation? No, its too dependent on vagaries of climate and its footprint is large, but its a step in the right direction and at least offers a credible option to boost power generation, the outputs are not miniscule given a 30sq mile site can achieve the output of 2 reactors.
 

edwest2

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I know someone who worked at a daily newspaper. I was invited to visit. The news feed consisted of a machine that printed out stories submitted by the wire services on a piece of paper from a continuous roll that ran 24 hours a day. From that, he told me about the daily meetings that were held to decide what stories would go in and which would not. That was supplemented by local photographers and local reporters being sent to cover stories. Again, decisions had to be made regarding how much to include. Newspapers were supported by advertising so the paper was allowed so many pages for news and so many for ads. If more information was needed, they could contact any experts they required.

Today, there is far too much news for the average person to digest. The fiction that things are now somehow better should be exposed. The pressure on the average person who is sought after by advertisers has increased. Junk mail has been replaced by junk email. When telephone directories were distributed before the internet, they consisted of the White Pages for individuals and the Yellow Pages for businesses. Both still exist but in much smaller form because advertising dollars were siphoned away to the internet. The trade publication, Advertising Age, outlines the desire to not only know what consumers are thinking but to anticipate their next move. Their next purchases. Surveillance has become the goal and it has increased. For very large companies, other companies exist that do nothing but scour the internet for any mention of their clients, good and bad, and this information is compiled and sold. Projections for various industries are also compiled and sold. And the more "eyeballs" a site gets, the more it can charge for advertising. The US Justice Department is looking at Google, Amazon and other companies who are taking in large sums and who are accused of acting improperly.

I used to read highly technical journals and will do so again once certain restrictions are lifted. The news is a product and news outlets have to know who the average reader is and tailor, add or subtract, certain elements from news stories to make sure articles are read. They need to stay in business and cannot afford to lose eyeballs. That is why news sites are now adding the following at the top of the article "2 minute read" or "5 minute read." I ignore such notes since it doesn't matter. If a story is relevant to me I will read it. If not, I won't. The length of time is irrelevant. They, meaning the news/ad industry, know how much time the average person has. There is a service that is available that will link to your site. It will tell you how long and where visitors went on your site for a fee. These details are compiled for the purpose of rearranging your site to "improve" its usefulness to retain readers/users and to increase ad revenue.

Specialist technical information is available but unlike a physical library, are buried under obscure, and to me, bizarre names. I have seen one 'scientific' site change from reporting news to becoming another outlet for issue advocacy.
 

edwest2

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I want my 'advertising profile' to be short and full of phrases like 'hard target', 'enigma', and 'profligate use of adblockers'.

The ad industry in the US, and globally, is only a few steps below the NSA. The average consumer has remained quite average both pre and post-internet. The same driving factors are still involved: Low cost, convenience and availability. For example, Amazon made no profit for years as it convinced consumers that they deserved a discount on books, then later, everything else. Now Mr. Bezos is worth over 250 billion dollars. His about to be concluded purchase of MGM Studios amounts to pocket change.

But back to wind farms. These are only part of other renewable energy projects. "Headwinds" is a fictional word created by Wall Street. The correct word is difficulties.
 

dannydale

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Difficulties are there to be overcome anyway. Don't be distracted by negative nellies like Wall Street.
 

edwest2

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Haven't you heard? The only people that matter work on Wall Street. The daily reports include data about unemployment, new business launches and trends. That's money coursing through their veins.
 

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Wind is regularly supplying 40% of UK energy and more. In the last week it hit 66% for a couple of hours, but that was in the middle of the night, so not really as impressive as the daytime figures. We're pushing towards 20GW of generation from an installed base of 25GW (there's always going to be some towers down for maintenance, and some where it just isn't windy today), with a national target of 40GW of generation by 2030. This means we're spending longer and longer without needing to fire up any of the remaining coal-fired stations, with at least one almost two month period of leaving them idle.

I found a breakdown for January 2020 with wind supplying 24%, biomass 7.7%, hydro 2.07%, solar 1.16%, nuclear 19.75%, gas 32%, coal 5% and imports* 8.22%. Wind generation is split about 55% onshore, 45% offshore at the moment (there was a fairly stupid ban on further onshore development from 2016 to 2020, which was the Tories trying to attract the NIMBY vote).

* Cables across the Channel.

Obviously a distributed generation capacity and a mixed generation capacity are important for national resilience, as is a network capable of exploiting that (not necessarily the case in parts of the US I realise), and wind is dependent on local weather patterns. But if you have a shoreline you're pretty much guaranteed a regular wind pattern due to differential heating of land and sea. That means energy generation needing only upfront investment and ongoing maintenance, no continuing fuel bills, and which, outside of huge windfarms, can potentially be exploited with incremental investment in a tower here and a tower there.

If the potential is there, and increases national resilience, then what viable reasons are there not to exploit it?
 

starviking

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If the potential is there, and increases national resilience, then what viable reasons are there not to exploit it?
In general agreement. The problem is that there are renewables advocacy groups who virtually want everything save wind and solar dead and buried, to whom words like 'intermittency' and 'seasonal lulls' are countered by 'we will invent amazing batteries.'
 

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