Last week Britain has taken the lead in terms of off-shore wind parks: Thursday the world’s biggest ocean wind park has gone on the net. The electricity produced will deliver enough for approximately 200.000 households.
This means the race for world-leadership in wind energy has been taken onto a new level. In order to become competitive with conventional power plants that produce several gigawatts of electricity, wind turbines have to increase in size and capacity. Right now modern wind turbines reach about 2 to 3 MW, and wind parks with greater power are still comparatively expensive.
It is thought that off-shore parks can really deliver what is hoped because wind conditions on sea are more stable and due to the flat surface on sea also much stronger. Up to date, finance is still the biggest obstacle. Off-shore wind parks cost about 30 to 50% more than conventional ones, and they are still prone to corrosion and therefore harder and more expensive to maintain.
British, American and Norwegian engineers are competing to build off-shore wind turbines in the range of about 10 MW, which would be about twice the size of anything built up to date. US wind company Clipper has also announced plans to build 10MW “Britannia” turbines in north-east England.
In Norway the company Sway is working to develop huge floating turbines anchored to the sea bed. While their engineers picture a 8-10 MW turbine, their Danish counterparts are working on 9 MW turbines. Prototypes of all of them are expected within 3 years.
India has established herself as a world leader on solar power, now it also aims to increase its installed windpower capacity. DIREC 2010 Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference will support this by giving all renewable energy technologies a platform to reach an international audience. For example, a workshop (Wind energy: Leap Frogging to a new era) is going to be held and exhibitors of wind turbines will enjoy a range of benefits. A great chance for networking and an opportunity to present the latest innovations to a global market will raise product awareness. Extensive media coverage will help bringing producers and operators together, resulting in sales to a targeted customer base. No doubt, India will make to most of this chance to catch up with the world leaders in wind energy, and on a global scale, it s a great opportunity to promote the advantages of wind power.
After all, the market for offshore power is expected to grow to hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Last year the European Wind Energy Association predicted that Europe would increase its offshore wind power from less than 2GW today to more than 150GW by 2030. A great chance to accelerate the move towards a low-carbon society!