Offshore wind is too expensive, and that's unlikely to change

● By Jim Platts, University of Cambridge ● The government has announced that the final prices paid to generators of solar, onshore and offshore wind would change to favour offshore wind at the expense of the others. While the difference is fairly slight – a fiver off here, a fiver added there – it reveals a favour that ignores the industry’s struggles to make offshore wind development economically viable. In 2012 the global wind industry manufactured and installed more than 20,000 turbines generating 45GW of energy. The leading firm alone, Danish company Vestas, installed more than 6GW of this via 2,500 turbines. The company’s offerings centre on a “workhorse” platform that supports turbines from 1.8MW to 3MW and rotor sizes from 80-112m in diameter, to meet the needs of different sites with different wind conditions and remain cost effective. This cost effectiveness is made possible by a supply chain of factories and component makers that have through many very substantial investments been able to develop the rhythm and flow of work. A new family of turbines, of different size or specification, would require that investment and experience to be made all over again. After more than a decade, the total number of offshore wind turbines worldwide is only now approaching 2,000 and growing erratically as different developers using different machinery from different countries embark on wholly unrelated and sometimes even interfering projects. This is not a route to any kind of cost effectiveness at all. A joint venture between Vestas and Mitsubishi is developing a large, 8MW wind turbine but production won’t go ahead until there are sufficient orders to make it worthwhile. A leader in this month’s Windpower Monthly, the industry journal, explains that “collaboration is vital for offshore future” and that “the European wind industry continues to suffer from political indecision and backtracking on subsidies ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK