01 October 2010

250 Wind Experts Gather to Discuss the Growth of the Booming Offshore Wind Industry

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For offshore wind developers, the EU's renewable energy targets promise to unlock a lucrative market - assuming that escalating costs can be curbed. Industry leaders and government bodies are now running against the clock to identify viable cost mitigation strategies
For offshore wind developers, the EU's renewable energy targets promise to unlock a lucrative market - assuming that escalating costs can be curbed. Industry leaders and government bodies are now running against the clock to identify viable cost mitigation strategies.

In order for the UK to comply with the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive, which dictates that renewable energy must account for 15% of the UK's energy mix by 2020, it is predicted that 40% of the UK's electricity needs must be met using renewable sources.

The UK's renewable energy sector, however, is still at an embryonic stage, with the current level of renewable energy production at just 5%. With an eight-fold increase in production required, the industry needs to act now, and to adhere to a set plan.

The Carbon Trust, alongside a consortium comprising of 8 companies, is attempting to identify the challenges of curbing escalating costs associated with producing offshore wind energy, with a particular focus on the challenges of developing and operating the UK Round 3 zones.

Working with industry partners, the Carbon Trust has identified technology areas that represent a cost challenge: foundations, wake effect modelling, electrical systems, and marine access systems. The OWA is currently at the second stage in its research, and over the next 6 months they plan to:

Undertake an installation cost study for the foundation concepts and identify innovative ways to streamline the installation process Run a global design competition to identify new concepts for access system for wind farms further offshore Undertake an engineering design study for higher voltage wind farm arrays Scope out a measurement campaign for wake effects Soon the Wind industry will need to move into large scale engineering and Jan Matthiensen, the Offshore Renewable Technology Acceleration Manager at the Carbon Trust predicts: "One of the challenges will be increasing both turbine and system reliability which operate in a safe environment. Additionally, turbines will become larger and installation will be streamlined with new foundations concepts. Fabrication and O&M activities will dominate a large number of port activities."

(EarthTimes)

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