Wind energy is considered a vastly untapped source that, if properly harvested, can transform the energy market in the U.S., according to Jerome Hajjar, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern University. But that hasn’t happened yet, according to an article by Molly Callahan from Northeastern Univeristy
Part of the problem, the article says, is that coastal waters off the U.S. remain largely undeveloped with wind farms. There’s one fixed-bottom wind farm (a wind farm with turbines attached to the soil beneath the ocean, not floating on top of it) on the East Coast, Hajjar says, off the coast of Block Island in Rhode Island.
The uncertain East Coast climate, which is subject to hurricanes, is another, Hajjar was quoted as saying in the article. According to him require specialized equipment and in-depth engineering research are needed stabilize offshore wind farms on the United States coasts,
Hajjar and his Northeastern University colleagues Andrew Myers, Luca Caracoglia, Jennie Stephens, and others, are trying to stimulate more wind farm activity. This week, Hajjar and his colleagues met with industry leaders, public officials, and other academics from the U.S. and France in a conference called the French-American Innovation Day. The conference, held at Northwestern University, was co-chaired by Myers, who is an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.
At the end of 2018, Hajjar and his colleagues teamed up with the Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Research to release a report that outlined a blueprint for developing comprehensive wind energy infrastructure in the United States.
According to the article, Hajjar believes the coastal waters just off the country’s eastern seaboard are ripe with potential for wind farm development, He was particularly bullish on the Massachusetts coastline, which he terms as “the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind.” Hajjar believes coastal Massachusetts has the natural resources to be a global leader in wind energy production, the way Saudi Arabia has one of the largest oil reserves in the world.
The East Coast has “supreme wind conditions” in both shallow and deep water, Hajjar says. Massachusetts in particular, which has shallow water further from the coast than other states, is prime real estate for ocean wind turbines.
“The capacity is out there,” Hajjar was quoted as saying. “We just need to work together to build it.”