Offshore Wind Turbines and the Future

Wind turbines have been around for several decades now, providing reliable wind power at affordable prices for the consumer. What is offshore wind power? In many ways, offshore wind power, is almost exactly the same as the wind power we see on land, but there are some major differences. I’m going to go through the most important ones as well as telling you why offshore wind is going to be an important part of our future.

The wind resources offshore differ from onshore wind in two main ways: They are stronger and more reliable (stable). This of course, along with the fact that offshore wind turbines possess a smaller threat to the environment and the overall aesthetics, is got the renewable industry so interested.

The foundation that offshore wind turbines are structured at is very different from what we see on land. Because these foundations need to provide a stable fundament for the turbines on sea, more caution has to be taken into account when developing them. There are mainly two different types of bases of an offshore wind turbine:

Fixed Base

These can support wind turbines at depths up to about 100 meters. As the name says, these bases are fixed in the bottom of the ocean, and therefore limiting the depth they can be installed at. There are several different types and manufacturers of these wind turbines, each offering their own advantages and disadvantages.

Fleeting Base

Then there’s the fleeting base structure. These can be used to installed wind turbines at much greater depths (estimated for up to 700 meters). What this means is that we have access to much larger wind resources and a lot of the ethical and aesthetical downsides of both onshore and near-shore wind turbines diminish. There are currently only one wind turbine that is installed offshore at this time, but if it is successful we can expect a lot more of them in the near future!

Bottom Line

Offshore wind has had a very impressive growth in the last few years. Denmark, England and China are currently the leading countries, each one of them having a tremendous potential for developing offshore wind. They have many ongoing projects that potentially could tenfold the current installed offshore wind-output. There is no doubt that we will see more offshore wind in the future!

You can read more about these technologies at EnergyInformative.org, a site dedicated to bringing the latest news about both renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

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