Oregon to get offshore wind farm

A Seattle company is being given the green light to develop plans to build the West Coast’s first offshore wind-energy farm — five floating turbines off Oregon’s Coos Bay, federal and state officials said Wednesday.

The 30-megawatt pilot project was announced at a news conference in Portland by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Tommy Beaudreau, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The pilot project will be developed by Seattle-based Principle Power using technology for floating wind turbines that has not been deployed in U.S. waters but is in use or under development in Europe and Asia.

The Oregon facility would be 15 miles from shore, in about 1,400 feet of water. The turbines would be connected by electrical cables and have a single power cable transmitting electricity to the mainland.

Several offshore projects are in the works on the Atlantic coast, but they do not use floating platforms. Instead, they are anchored to the seabed.

The ocean gets deeper more quickly on the West Coast, so turbine towers cannot be planted directly into the seabed, said Belinda Batten, director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University. Instead, companies need to use devices supported on floating platforms.

— Associated Press

Plastic part forces Aston Martin recall

They are among the fastest and most expensive cars on the road, but that does not mean Aston Martins are immune to a little counterfeit plastic.

The British automaker announced it is recalling nearly all of its cars from the 2008 through 2014 model years to fix an issue with the gas pedal. The recall affects 17,590 cars globally, 5,000 of which are in the United States.

The issue is related to counterfeit plastics used in the arm of the accelerator. Aston Martin’s engineers specified the piece needed to be made from brand-name DuPont plastic. The third-tier supplier in China thought otherwise and used an inferior plastic. Turns out the engineers knew what they were doing: The cheaper part can break under a lighter load than Aston would prefer.

“If the accelerator pedal arm breaks, the engine will return to idle and the driver will be unable to maintain or increase engine speed, increasing the risk of a crash,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials said.

This means the four-door Rapide and Rapide S, V-12 Vantage Coupe, and coupe and convertible versions of the DB9, DBS, Virage, V-8 Vantage and Vantage S will all need to head to a dealership for a free repair.

Good thing, since these cars ranged from about $120,000 to more than $300,000 when new — low-rent plastics or not.

Aston is not aware of the issue causing anyone harm, the company said.

— Los Angeles Times

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