OFFSHORE: THE NEW FRONTIER
The main motivation for going offshore is the considerably higher – and more predictable – wind speeds to be found out at sea:
Denmark has led the world in the development of proposals to build large wind farms of turbines in its coastal waters.
- the majority of marine sites in northern European waters are expected to deliver between 20% and 40% more energy than good shoreline sites;
- a second advantage is that placing wind farms offshore reduces their impact on the landscape, with many of the developments now being planned virtually invisible from the shore.
United Kingdom: 15 wind farms with a total capacity of up to 7,200 MW are now planned in three strategic sea areas identified by the UK government off the country’s eastern and western coasts.
- The first of these, at Horns Rev in the North Sea (160 MW) was built during 2002; the second, off the coast from Nysted at Roedsand Banke (158 MW), was completed in 2003. In 2007 and 2008 two new offshore wind farms of at least 200 MW will be completed.
Germany also has extremely ambitious offshore plans. Its goal is to see up to 25,000 MW of wind parks in the sea by 2025-30. This would satisfy roughly 15% of the country’s (1998) electricity demand.
- The largest, in the Greater Wash area off eastern England, would alone have a capacity of 1,200 MW. When completed, these ‘second round’ projects could provide enough power for 4 million homes, or one in six UK households, according to calculations by the British Wind Energy Association.
Other European countries with advanced offshore plans include the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and Sweden.