Floating wind powered electric turbine designs are cost-competitive with fixed-bottom designs in waters over 50 meters deep, and if challenges are successfully met, deep water wind farms could be operating in four years' time in the waters off Europe.
Deep water wind turbines are key to unlocking the massive energy potential in Europe's Atlantic and Mediterranean seas and the deepest parts of the North Sea, a new report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) shows.
The report reveals that floating turbines in North Sea deep waters alone could power Europe four times over. Offshore wind in Europe could be providing 145 million households with renewable electricity and employing 318,000 people by 2030, while providing energy security, technology exports and no greenhouse gases.
"To allow this sector to realize 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. This must be backed by an industrial strategy for offshore wind including support for R&D", said Jacopo Moccia, head of policy analysis at EWEA.
This technology is cost-competitive with standard fixed-bottom offshore turbines from 50 meters water depth, the report finds.
If the requirements are met, the first full-scale deep offshore wind farms could be producing power by 2017, up from the two floating turbines currently supplying electricity from European waters.
The report can be read at www.ewea.org/report/deep-water