Offshore wind could meet EU electricity needs 4x over: report | RenewEconomy

Offshore wind could meet EU electricity needs 4x over: report

New report says floating offshore wind farms in the North Sea could meet the European Union’s total electricity usage more than four times over.

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CleanTechnica – By Nathan

The European Union’s total electricity usage could be met — actually, it could be exceeded more than four times over — by floating offshore wind farms in the deep waters of the North Sea, according to a new report from the European Wind Energy Association. The report also urges the EU to set new renewable energy targets for the bloc, for the year 2030.

The report makes the argument that floating wind turbines — and/or other wind turbines specifically adapted to the deep waters of the North Sea — should be an important part of EU energy infrastructure in the future. According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), regardless of development costs, floating turbines — as a result of their greatly decreased use of steel — are cost-competitive with conventional turbines that are installed in waters deeper than 50 meters. The report makes the assertion that if the right policies are put into place now — to spur the development and implementation of next-generation floating turbines — total EU offshore wind capacity could reach 150 GW by the year 2030.

“The world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine, Hywind, being assembled in the Åmøy Fjord near Stavanger, Norway in 2009, before deployment in the North Sea.”

Floating offshore wind turbine
The world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine, Hywind, being assembled in the Åmøy Fjord near Stavanger, Norway in 2009, before deployment in the North Sea.

Image Credit: Hywind Floating Wind Turbine via Flickr CC

Business Green has more info on the new report and the wind energy situation in Europe today:

“The EU currently operates at least 5 GW of offshore wind capacity, at least 3.3 GW of which is located in UK waters. However, the EWEA believes European capacity could reach 150 GW by 2030 if the right policies are put in place to support the industry and accelerate the development of floating turbines.

“The European Commission is due to present its proposals for the 2030 energy and climate framework later this year, which could include targets covering carbon emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

There’s some significant opposition to the adoption of new renewable energy targets, though. Some of those opposing such targets, such as the UK, argue that it’d be a far better choice to simply set a strong emissions target and then allow countries to work out the details on their own, choosing the solutions that are best suited to their individual situations.

The counterargument — according to Jacopo Moccia, the head of policy analysis at EWEA — is that a 2030 renewable energy target is necessary in order to drive faster development of the offshore wind industry. He stated: “To allow this sector to realize its potential and deliver major benefits for Europe, a clear and stable legislative framework for after 2020 — based on a binding 2030 renewable energy target — is vital. This must be backed by an industrial strategy for offshore wind including support for R&D.”

In related news, noted wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa recently made the announcement that it had finished installing its first offshore wind turbine in Spanish waters. The new 5 MW turbine was installed in Arinaga Quay in Gran Canaria. It possess a rotor diameter of 128 meters, with the potential to provide electricity for somewhere around 7,500 households.

As Josh wrote yesterday, ”Gamesa is proud of their new prototype, describing the turbine as having a ‘modular and redundant design, which ensures reliability and maximizes energy output, optimizing the cost of energy’.”

For more information and recent news about more innovative but still nascent floating wind turbines featured in the EWEA article, see:  Floating Wind Turbines In Scotland Get £15 Million.

This article was originally published on CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission

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12 Comments
  1. George Papadopoulos 7 years ago

    “Could meet”… Didn’t need to read much further than the title to realise it is just another article for optimists.

    • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

      Masterful job of self-labeling, George.

      • George Papadopoulos 7 years ago

        Bob, nice comment. I assume that you agree that “could meet” is just one more bit of wind industry marketing hype and empty promises.

        • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

          No, George. I don’t.

          It’s like when I’m walking down the street and see something I like in a store window. I check the price and then I check the amount of money I have in my pocket and I realize that I “could” afford that.

          Now, were someone to say that your anti-wind bias is so extreme that it causes you to post silly stuff I’d have to say that I “could” agree with that.

          Why don’t you act a little more objectively? It wouldn’t be hard to find a wind map that would let you determine (at least roughly) the area that has enough wind to drive a turbine.

          Then look up the spacing of offshore wind turbines and do the math.

          Heck, you could even read the original report and look at the numbers they used and then double check the ones you find suspicious.

          One of two things will happen.

          1) You’ll have data that shows that the wind industry seems to be hyping and you can push a rational discussion about that possibility.

          Or –

          2) You’ll understand that there actually is a tremendous amount of energy that could be harvested with turbines.

          • George Papadopoulos 7 years ago

            Bob, it is amazing how you resort to personal attacks. These turbines either will or won’t power x number of homes.
            The wind industry keeps the “could” going for those who willing to believe them.

          • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

            Asking you to think a bit more and be a bit more objective is attacking you?

            Sorry, George. If you wish to push your anti-wind junk be prepared for some push back. Cherry-picking and meaning-twisting will receive the same treatment.

            I might point out that you apparently didn’t bother to read the report or do your own availability estimate, but instead took a shot at me. That’s pretty intellectually lazy on your part.

          • George Papadopoulos 7 years ago

            Bob, if these are polite impersonal comments then please explain….

            “Masterful job of self-labeling, George.”

            “Sorry, George. If you wish to push your anti-wind junk”

            “That’s pretty intellectually lazy on your part.”

          • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

            Why don’t you worry more about getting facts straight and less about someone hurting your tender fee-fees, George?

          • George Papadopoulos 7 years ago

            So Bob, you do admit that your attitude is personal attacks and insults, and keep asserting that the other needs to get their facts right? Surely you must have some very strange expectations? I don’t see much point continuing the conversation with you…

          • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

            OK, George. Don’t allow facts to interfere with your belief system.

  2. Leigh Baker 7 years ago

    What about small localised wind options that don’t need substantial grid infrastructure? Read about http://www.ridgeblade.com/ a while ago – what’s the potential of wind in ‘small, smart, local’ energy solutions?

    • Bob_Wallace 7 years ago

      Basically, small wind does not work. Well, it works, sometimes. But it produces small electricity per dollar compared to the big boys.

      The good wind is up high. Not on your rooftop. Not at 50m off the ground. But starting at 80m off the ground. The difference between 50m and 80m up is significant enough that some of the early wind farms are having their towers and turbines replaced before they are worn out because there’s so much more power available up higher.

      This ‘device’. There’s no performance data. It’s a site fishing for money. They have no product to sell nor a price set. Their web site doesn’t even work correctly.

      Every few months a new “This is the answer!” small turbine idea gets floated. And dies away.

      Paul Gipe is pretty much the go-to guy for small wind. He’s tested multiple small turbines. Check what he’s found with the little puppies.

      http://www.wind-works.org/cms/index.php?id=1

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