Offshore Wind Turbines Could Cost 30% Less


The Energy Technologies Institute has completed its third offshore wind energy project, has found that offshore wind energy costs could be cut 30% or more, and intends to build an innovative offshore wind demonstrator project this year.

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) recently brought together E.ON (a major energy company in Europe), BP, power systems and engineering experts at Rolls-Royce, and the University of Strathclyde for a project called “Helm Wind.” The project’s goal: create offshore wind turbines made for offshore wind, so that wind energy costs can be cut and electricity can be cheaper (and cleaner).

“Offshore wind turbines have generally been designed for onshore use and then adapted for deployment at sea,” ETI writes. “This has led to high capital and operational costs, reliability issues and a cost of energy that is higher than from onshore turbines.”

Offshore wind energy has huge potential, since wind is stronger and steadier offshore. But there is a lot of room for technological improvement, as indicated above, and this project that could help us to capitalize on that potential more.

Helm Wind Project Results

Through the project, ETI and the group have concluded that costs could be 30% lower than they are for the top offshore wind turbines currently on the market if a number of design improvements are made to make offshore wind turbines fit their environment better. And they see even more potential for cutting costs as the technology is developed further.

“This project took a completely fresh look at all aspects of offshore wind turbines to identify concepts and technologies that could deliver significant reductions in the cost of energy,” ETI Chief Executive Dr David Clarke said. “It examined everything from the rotor diameter and speed, the number of blades, whether they should face upwind or downwind, drive-train options and support structures.”

ETI is going to continue analyzing the results of this project, will carry the information learned from this project and two other offshore wind projects forward into their next project, and intends to develop an offshore wind strategy that will result in an offshore wind demonstrator project being commissioned this year.

Article by Zachary Shahan, appearing courtesy Earth & Industry.



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