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Clean Power Offshore Wind Farms Hold Potential To Weaken Hurricanes, Research Finds

Published on July 18th, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill

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4.9 GW Of European Offshore Wind Capacity In Development, Says EWEA

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July 18th, 2014 by
 
The European Wind Energy Association havs released a report investigating the European offshore wind industry for the first half of 2014, and found that there are currently 16 commercial offshore wind farms totalling 4.9 GW currently under construction, boosting European offshore wind capacity.

Furthermore, a total of 224 new offshore wind turbines amounting to 781 MW were fully connected during the first six months of the year, 25% less than was seen during the same period a year earlier. Another 282 turbines were installed but not connected, another 1,200 MW of capacity waiting for completion.

“Despite offshore wind power installations being lower than in the first six months of last year, it remains the fastest growing power sector in Europe” said Justin Wilkes, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

“However, despite significant financing activity in the first half of the year, the contraction in installations we have witnessed in these first six months, may well continue into 2015 and 2016,” warned Wilkes.

“To ensure healthy growth in the latter part of the decade, and to ensure offshore wind energy plays its role in meeting the EU’s competitiveness, security, renewable and climate objectives, the industry must be given longer-term visibility. An ambitious deal on the 2030 Climate and Energy package by the EU’s Heads of State in October would send the right signal, making their decision particularly important for the offshore wind sector” concluded Wilkes.

The offshore UK wind sector has suffered greatly from uncertain governmental economic policies and support for the renewable energy industry for several years now. And while the sector has managed to push forward through these obstacles, these latest figures show that the political uncertainty is finally beginning to affect the full pipeline.

Private investments will be incredibly important moving forward for European offshore wind capacity, especially if the UK government follows through with removing funding for the offshore wind industry.

Interestingly enough, opposing wind farms has recently been shown to be a turnoff for voters, according to new independent research from ComRes.

The report, commissioned by RenewableUK, shows that political parties that oppose wind development are actually at risk of losing twice as many votes as they gain for their stance.

“This poll shows that anti-onshore wind policy is a clear vote-loser, with Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem voters turned off by anti-onshore rhetoric,” said RenewableUK Chief Executive Maria McCaffery. “Those who espouse anti-wind views should pay particular attention to results in the marginal seats which will determine the next election. The public understands that we need more onshore wind.

“Onshore wind is the cheapest form of low carbon technology, and provided enough power for 3.8 million households last year. Voters understand it’s wrong to rule out further onshore wind and will not back candidates who try to. This sends a clear message to politicians to back this technology and the 19,000 people who work in the industry.”

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.



  • JamesWimberley

    “… especially if the UK government follows through with removing funding for the offshore wind industry.” Surely you mean onshore?

    The mean size of the 224 offshore turbines connected in Q1+Q2 2014 was 3.49 MW. The size gap with onshore will widen. Dong, the large Danish developers, are working with manufacturers on 10 MW designs. Onshore turbines are constrained in size by the transport on trucks of rotors, tower sections and nacelles; offshore, you just hire a bigger ship.

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    • Ulenspiegel

      Sorry this argument does not work:

      You build large offshore turbines, that are still more expensive per kW than their smaller (offshore) brothers, because the turbine causes only a small percentage of the costs, i.e. savings by reduced logistics compensate for higher turbine price.

      In case of onshore wind the turbin is >70% of the price. Therefore, you choose a small turbin as long as you have enough sites.

      The cheapest wind power is provided by small onshore turbines (USA).

      • Bob_Wallace

        In general, offshore wind blows more hours and tends to blow during the day when demand is highest. If you don’t take that into account then a comparison of onshore/offshore costs makes no sense.

        Largest wins when it comes to wind. Offshore turbines will end up larger than onshore simply because of the ease of moving large objects at sea. The price of offshore wind will fall as the industry matures.

        • Ulenspiegel

          On the other hand, onshore is so cheap that overbuilding in combination with curtailing is still cheaper than offshore.

          Offshore 50-55% capacity factor
          Onshore 35-45% capacity factor (in coastal regions.)

          or

          Onshore + PV for daytime peak vs. Offshore

          who wins?

          Large turbines only win, when logistics are the driving cost factor, which is only true for offshore, or when we have an limited number of sites.

          • Bob_Wallace

            CF doesn’t reflect the hours during which wind delivers. Daytime production is more valuable than late night production.

            Offshore is much closer to US population centers than Midwest onshore resources.

            I’m not aware that smaller turbines ever win unless there is no way to install a larger turbine. In both the US and Europe we’re pulling down smaller turbines and installing larger ones.

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