April 4, 2008

Wind Power and Enterprise Architecture

One great thing about enterprise architecture is that it’s forward looking and seeks to solve today’s problems with tomorrow’s solutions—that’s our target architecture!

Today, we have a problem with developing renewable energy resources, tomorrow we have one target solution that involves floating wind power.

MIT Technology Review, 2 April 2008 reports that “floating platforms could take wind farms far from coasts, reducing costs and skirting controversy.”

“Offshore wind-farm developers would love to build in deep water more than 32 kilometers from shore, where stronger and steadier winds prevail and complaints about scenery are less likely. But building foundations to support wind turbines in water deeper than 20 meters is prohibitively expensive. Now, technology developers are stepping up work in floating turbines to make such farms feasible.”

Is this technology viable today?

“Several companies are on their way to demonstrating systems by borrowing heavily from oil and gas offshore platform technology.”

How big a deal is the potential of wind power? Huge!

“If these efforts succeed, they could open up a resource of immense scale…offshore wind resources on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts exceed the current electricity generation of the entire U.S. power industry.”

“The global market for offshore energy could reach 40,000 megawatts by 2020—enough to power more than 30 million U.S. homes, and more than twice the scale of last year’s wind installations worldwide.”

Creative solutions—innovations (like floatable wind farms) are what keep our organizations, our nation, and the human race continuously on a forward track. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t ever any backsliding. Of course, there is. But then we pull out our creative energy and passion and build the next target architecture.

Similarly, as architects, our job is to solve problems and meet end-user requirements. When inevitably, we face what seems like insurmountable odds, we just keep climbing to the next rung on the ladder.

Is there ever an end to that ladder?

Frankly, I am a huge believer that at some point, we do exhaust the capability of this wonderful world, Earth, to sustain ever more billions of people. Whether with wind farms or a myriad other technological innovations, there will come a time, when to space and other worlds we must go. Of that, as an enterprise architect, I am certain.

Will we have the creativity to keep up?


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