In the UK, the world’s largest offshore wind farm has recently been opened by energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne. It houses 100 wind turbines and is expected to generate 300 megawatts, which is the equivalent of powering over 200,000 homes. The UK now produces over 5 gigawatts of electricity sourced from wind farms, generating enough power for 3 million homes.
Yet a UK Government think tank has warned that the cost of creating and running new wind turbines has been underestimated. The main reason given for this is the rising price of steel and the dwindling value of the pound.
The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) reports that costs have risen for all kinds of electricity generation, but offshore wind is currently far more expensive than either fossil fuel generators or nuclear. Yet the report also stated that it was "cautiously optimistic" that wind energy could have a big part to play in the UK’s carbon zero future and that all new energy producers are bound to have teething problems.
Also a recently published report, "Offshore Wind Farm Manufacturing Worldwide", suggests that the cost of running offshore wind farms are approximately 30-50% higher than onshore, but the expenses are partially offset by higher energy yields, which can be as much as 30%.
Offshore Wind Farm Manufacturing Worldwide
The global move to offshore wind farm development is enabling nations to accelerate wind energy adoption while reducing reliance on land-based power grids. Offshore wind turbines are subjected to fiercer winds and require larger turbines than land-based wind initiatives. But these benefits typically can increase the overall cost of offshore manufacturing and maintenance of wind turbines.
Capital costs are approximately 30-50% higher than onshore, due to larger machine size and the costs of transporting and installing at sea. These expenses are partially offset by higher energy yields – as much as 30%. But many countries are finding the benefits to offshore outweigh these added expenditures. Offshore wind energy has a reduced effect on the environment and higher wind speeds at sea result in increased energy production.
Leading wind energy producers in Europe, Asia, and the Americas are embracing offshore as an important component of future expansion and adoption of renewable energy use. The first large offshore wind farms are well in development in several European countries. Developing offshore wind can enable these nations to achieve competitive electricity markets, reach a larger degree of energy inde¬pendence, and ensure lower and more predictable overall project costs. This Energy report, Offshore Wind Farm Manufacturing Worldwide explores the revenue generating potential for companies involved in this burgeoning renewable energy area.