Anyone who talks to me about energy will quickly learn I’m a HUGE fan of offshore wind energy. So this news item in the New York Times caught my eye pretty quick – regulators have approved the US’s first offshore windfarm. As the opponents point out in the article, this is just one of several hurdles that have to be overcome before it becomes reality, but it’s a pretty big one. Several other countries have experimented with this stuff with pretty good successes, so I have a lot of high hopes for US versions.
On a side note, has anyone ever wondered why windmills have three arms? Turns out there’s a good engineering reason behind it all. Slate has a good article talking about the engineering benefits of various designs. The basic punchline is that three blades have the optimal energy output, environmental impact, and manufacturing costs we seek in a good windmill. If manufacturing costs decrease with better processes, two blade systems might make more sense.