Feature: Offshore wind set to boom from 2020
The offshore wind sector, which is currently far smaller than its onshore cousin, is set to take-off over the next 20 years. But the sector’s technological and research needs, and as a result its financial needs, are sizeable.
In its recently published Communication on financing low carbon technologies, the Commission allocated €6 billion to wind energy research from 2010 – 2020, of that, some €1.2 billion will be channelled in to developing offshore wind.
The goal is to make offshore turbines and substructures more reliable, efficient and ever-cheaper to produce. The offshore wind industry being in its infancy, companies are starting nearly from scratch– there are no standards for designing, installing or running an offshore farm which would bring down costs. All this is set to change over the coming years.
A large slice of offshore wind’s €1.2 billion budget will be spent on developing bigger turbines that can generate larger amounts of electricity at even greater sea depths. Once developed, these turbines will need sub-structures to attach them to the seabed or, in a technological advance that is now a hot topic in wind research circles, floating structures.
With decades of experience of working in hostile offshore environments, the oil and gas sector could have ample knowledge to pass-on to offshore wind developers – a source wind experts are keen to tap into. In years to come, offshore wind farms could even have live-on platforms, similar to oil and gas platforms, for wind farm operators and engineers.
While offshore wind’s research needs are considerable, the plans being hatched by wind technology experts today already spell a promising future for the sector.
For more information: http://www.ewea.org/index.php?id=828