European wind potential reaching greater depths

europeanDEEPWATER wind turbines are key to unlocking “massive” energy potential in Europe’s Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas, a new report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has revealed.
The report found that floating turbines in the deepest parts of the North Sea could meet the European Union’s electricity consumption four times over.
“To allow this sector to realise its potential and deliver major benefits for Europe, a clear and stable legislative framework for after 2020 – based on a binding 2030 renewable energy target – is vital,” EWEA head of policy analysis Jacopo Moccia said.
The report found that offshore wind in Europe could supply 145 million households with renewable electricity and employ 318,000 people by 2030, while providing energy security, technology exports and zero greenhouse gas emissions.
“This must be backed by an industrial strategy for offshore wind including support for research and development,” Mr Moccia said.
The report stipulated that the technology was cost-competitive with standard fixed-bottom offshore turbines from water depths of 50m.
More than 65 per cent of the North Sea is between 50m and 220m deep, making it an ideal location to deploy deepwater wind turbine designs.
The EWEA stated that if the requirements were met, the first full-scale deep offshore wind farms could be producing power by 2017. Two floating wind turbines, Hywind and WindFloat, in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean respectively, currently supply electricity to Europe. “The European seas and oceans offer considerable and untapped economical potential. Nevertheless, they also pose a formidable policy challenge to decision makers,” Maritime Affairs and Fisherie European Commissioner Maria Damanaki said in the report.
“Offshore wind plays a key role in the maritime economy.
“It is an emerging and booming industry, ready to renew the industrial fabric of our region and create jobs.”