Green Tech Chatter: Offshore Wind Power

Wind power has been at the forefront of renewable and clean energy for some time. It harnesses the power of moving air and converts it to electricity by way of turbines. The blades of a turbine rotate in the wind, and cause a shaft connected to a generator inside to spin, creating usable electricity. A large number of turbines in a strategic location is called a wind farm, and these can be located on land, known as onshore wind farms, or in the ocean, which are known as offshore wind farms.

Many of the largest onshore wind farms are in the US, including the world’s largest, the Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas, which produces 781.5 megawatts of electricity. But as of yet, the US has no offshore wind farms, and Europe remains the leader in offshore wind power technology.

offshore wind power

image via University of Delaware

Offshore wind farms have definite benefits. Wind speed in the ocean is higher more constant, making it a more ideal place to harness wind power than on land. On a personal level, the size and noise of the turbines is less obvious and obtrusive to people, as they are placed far out in the water. But certain considerations must be taken into consideration when constructing in water. The bases of the turbines must be constructed differently than those on land to ensure stability, and currently there are several solutions for construction in relatively shallow water, such as tripod bases, and floating wind turbines are being developed for wind farms over deeper water. Also, offshore wind turbines can be an eye sore to some.

To learn more about offshore wind power, check out some of our curated links below.

OCS Alternative Energy gives a brief overview of offshore wind power, and discusses the development of offshore wind farms in deeper waters.

Industrial Fuels and Power reports on the construction of an offshore wind farm off the coast of Belgium.

Renewable Energy World discusses the predicted drop in cost of offshore wind power, but takes into consideration other factors of the energy source’s future.

The European Wind Energy Association breaks down its predictions for EU’s total wind power contribution up to 2050.

Rueters reports on German insurer Allianz’s consideration of adding offshore wind power to its energy portfolio.

The Virginian-Pilot discusses some of the reasons as to why offshore wind farms have yet to be used in the US.

Cape Wind answers some FAQs about offshore wind on Cape Cod, MA, and provides an overview of its goals.

Bloomberg.com A European engineering company is willing to provide financing for US’s first offshore wind farm.

SmartPlanet discusses the possibility of an offshore wind farm in the Great Lakes, known as the Freshwater Wind project.

The Portland Press Herald of Maine reports on the state’s ongoing efforts to an develop offshore wind program.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.