Interested in wind power? Well, you can’t just slap a wind turbine anywhere. What about off-shore where no one will see them?
You can’t put them in cities, and of course there are some places where there just isn’t enough wind to do the job. There are also concerns about bird and bat populations that wind turbines have a deadly interaction with. Still, wind power is proving to be one of the most cost-effective renewable energy types available. In fact, Australia’s energy future could be 100% renewable by 2030, about 60% of it powered by wind turbines.
According to research completed in the European Union, which suffers for land area to put wind farms on, is focusing on off-shore wind turbines to generate its energy future. The report, completed by the European Wind Energy Association, finds that floating wind turbines are on par with conventional turbines installed in about 160ft of water, but can be placed in much deeper locations, since they require no support structure on the seabed.
For example, just recently off the cost of Maine, a number of floating turbines are planned to be installed about 20 miles off the coast. Despite their giant size, the entire array of 80 wind turbines, each with a span of about 460ft, won’t be visible from the shore.
If the right policies are in place to spur the development of, and ease the transition to, wind turbines, EWEA estimates that total power production of the EU’s off-shore wind farms could exceed 150GW by 2030. This is about 400% more than projected consumption. Combined with on-shore grid storage technology and other renewable energy projects, the EU’s power grid could be 100% carbon-free in the next 10 years or so, but only if EU governments adopt the right policies right now.
Photo credit: qayaq / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND