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Published on May 3rd, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

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Offshore Wind Power Market about to Boom (Report)

May 3rd, 2011 by  


A new report out by Pike Research tells us what many of us have been expecting already — offshore wind power is reaching a critical “this-makes-sense” (or “this-makes-cents”) point and is about to boom.

The report finds that total installed wind power generation capacity will increase 17 times over the next 6 years.

It is projected to increase from 4.1 GW of installed capacity in 2011 to 70.1 GW in 2017.

“Some of the world’s best wind resources are located offshore,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus. “Often, these high-potential areas are in shallow ocean waters relatively close to urban population centers. Interest in freshwater offshore wind is also picking up, especially in the Great Lakes in the United States and Canadian Midwest.”

Offshore wind power has been essentially limited to Europe thus far, but the U.S. is working on a couple of big offshore wind projects and a few other large countries are as well — China, India, and South Korea. These Asian countries are really looking to dive into this realm (yes, a little pun intended).

Obstacles to Offshore Wind.. & Solutions

Of course, offshore wind isn’t without its hurdles. Here are the two big ones, and reasons why it looks like they won’t be hurdles forever.

Cost

While offshore wind resources are greater and steadier than onshore, and located near large population centers (most of the world lives in coastal areas), the costs of building offshore turbines is greater.

However, part of this is that we have been trying to essentially transplant turbines built for onshore wind offshore. A lot of work is going into creating wind turbines more appropriate to the need, though. For example, “[t]he Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) recently brought together E.ON (a major energy company in Europe), BP, power systems and engineering experts at Rolls-Royce, and the University of Strathclyde for a project called ‘Helm Wind.’ The project’s goal: create offshore wind turbines made for offshore wind, so that wind energy costs can be cut and electricity can be cheaper (and cleaner).” According to this group’s research, offshore wind energy costs could be cut 30% or more.

Transmission

Another obstacle is transmission. But, even in the U.S., investors and developers are already tackling this. Google announced it was investing millions into The Atlantic Wind Connection project last year, which includes “350 miles of transmission off the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Virginia to tap into gigantic off-shore wind potential.” This offshore wind superhighway “will enable the connection of up to 6,000 MW of offshore wind turbines … equivalent to 60% of the wind energy that was installed in the entire country last year and enough to serve approximately 1.9 million households.”

China, India, and South Korea are tackling this issue as well.

h/t Yale environment 360

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Photo via Wessex Archaeology 
 


 


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.



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