Larger offshore turbine blades mean cheaper electricity

» By | Published 18 Apr 2011

Offshore wind turbines with much larger blades could cut the cost of generating offshore wind power by 30%, resulting in cheaper electricity, according to a study published by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

“There is huge potential for offshore wind to reduce carbon emissions and create economic prosperity, as well as increasing energy security of supply,” the ETI said.

To achieve this, wind turbine technology should be specifically developed for the offshore environment, rather than adapting onshore wind turbines for use at sea – which is current practice, the ETI claimed. The study, released today, found that offshore wind power could be competitive with onshore wind power by 2020 if specific technologies were developed, including bigger blades and locating wind farms further out to sea where the strongest winds blow.

The ETI’s conclusions echo a study published earlier this month by EWEA which found that developing 20 MW turbines with rotor diameters of around 200 metres could be a solution for expanding Europe’s offshore wind capacity, leading to greater quantities of offshore wind power at lower costs than today’s turbines.