Alternative energy systems like wind farms and solar grids have been around for decades, but construction on large-scale alternative energy generation projects has taken off in recent years. In late July, construction began on the Deepwater Wind project off the shore of Rhode Island.
The effort is the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., and consists of five turbines that will power 17,000 homes once the project is completed next year, according to the Portland Press Herald. The small farm near Rode Island is just one part of a much larger project that will encompass over 200 turbines along the coast.
This is an exciting moment for alternative energy in the U.S., and it is just the start of a much larger movement toward alternative energy generation. This new field will represent an area of rapid growth for the construction industry in the coming years, and should continue to expand as technology advances.
Following Europe’s Lead
While the new Deepwater Wind project is the first offshore turbine system in the U.S., Europe already features an extensive network of offshore windfarms spread across several countries. There are 2,488 turbines split between 11 European countries, according to the European Wind Energy Association.
The quick adoption of alternative energy sources in the European Union is largely a result of government initiatives that set aggressive goals for renewable energy use. The region hopes to generate 20 percent of its power through renewable means by 2020.
The U.S. does not have a similar mandate for renewable energy, though many states have set individual goals for alternative energy adoption. Those programs will likely spur increased construction of alternative energy systems, The U.S. also stands to benefit from lessons learned following Europe’s adoption of new energy generation systems.
Benefits and Risks
Alternative energy sources produce fewer emissions than traditional thermal energy generation plants and can lead to lower wholesale power prices for consumers, according to Renewable Energy World. These power generation systems also provide much-needed diversity to the nation’s power grid that can keep the prices of electricity stable throughout the year.
While those benefits are appealing, there are are some risks to new renewable energy platforms. The power grid must be updated to accommodate the location of new power generators and that can mean an enormous amount of construction. Governmental agencies and power companies need to budget for this infrastructure development when creating their plan for renewable energy generator construction.
New Projects Abound
The wind farm off the east coast is one of many new renewable energy projects that are currently in development throughout the U.S. According to Energy.gov, there are currently projects to expand the capabilities of and implement solar, geothermal, wind and water power generation systems across the country. As the power generation from these processes becomes more efficient, these alternative power sources will be integrated into the power grid for more and more people. That presents an opportunity for new construction that may require exceptionally mobile storage solutions.
How Portable Storage Fits In
Storage is crucial on any job site, and portable storage containers provide the ideal solution to a contractor’s storage needs. With portable storage from Mobile Mini, a contractor can be confident that items on the worksite are protected from weather and theft. Every container can be customized to its specific use on the job site, which allow construction teams to create everything from a vehicle storage space to a mobile workspace.
The move toward alternative energy sources will give the nation’s power grid greater flexibility, and contractors helping to transform energy can rely on portable storage to keep their operations flexible as well.