Deep Water Wind Energy Could Power EU (And Then Some)

A new report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) states the power produced from turbines in deep waters in the North Sea alone could meet the EU’s electricity consumption – four times over.
“Offshore wind in Europe could be providing 145 million households with renewable electricity and employing 318,000 people by 2030, while providing energy security, technology exports, and no greenhouse gases,” says the EWEA.
‘Deep Water’ in relation to wind turbines is considered to be depths of 50 metres or more. While the technology is still reasonably new, floating wind turbine designs are competitive in terms of the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) with bottom-fixed foundations in depths exceeding 50 metres.
Of all Europe’s grid connected offshore wind turbines currently in service, only two are not reliant on fixed foundations.
Acknowledging that the sector must overcome significant technical, economic and political challenges in order to properly tap deep water wind resources; the EWEA says if the challenges are overcome, the first deep offshore wind farms could be up and running by 2017.
Even at the shallow end of the pool, offshore wind power in the EU is a very big business. At the end of last year, 1,662 turbines totalling 5 GW capacity were operating in 55 wind farms in 10 European countries; producing 18 TWh of electricity – enough to power almost five million households.
With the proper support, EWEA says offshore wind could be eight times higher by 2020 and meeting 4% of European electricity demand. By 2030, offshore wind capacity could amount to 150 GW capacity, meeting 14% of the EU’s total electricity consumption.
“Deep water – The next step for offshore wind energy” can be viewed in full here (PDF).
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