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Can Deep Water Wind Farms Power The World?

Can Deep Water Wind Farms Power The World? thumbnail

Far out to sea, amid the crashing waves of the North Atlantic, there’s a fortune to be made. According to new research, deep water wind farms could produce enough energy to meet all existing and future electricity demand, if properly harnessed.

In a study published on October 9 by researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University, it’s estimated that deep water offshore turbines could produce three to five times as much energy as land-based turbines, due to the higher speeds and consistent force of the wind at sea.

One ‘small’ wind farm, covering 70 thousand square kilometers, could provide enough electricity to power the entire United States for ten years, according to the study.

A major factor in generating wind power is the movement of energy from higher in the atmosphere to the surface, where the turbines can transform it into electricity. The researchers found that land-based turbines are limited by the movement of atmosphere over land, which tends to be slowed down by the turbines and other impediments, such as buildings, trees or geographic features.

But this is less of a factor in deep water, where the ocean releases fantastic amounts of heat, particularly during the winter. With fewer impediments, atmospheric movement tends to be much more intense, allowing turbines to capture more energy with greater reliability.

The researchers concluded that constructing deep water wind farms would not measurably slow the movement of this energy. While energy production in the winter months of the North Atlantic would be high, the researchers concluded that significantly less energy would be produced during the summer.

At the moment, these findings are necessarily speculative. Construction of deep water wind turbines, most notably floating turbines that don’t need to be fixed to the ocean floor, is in its early stages. Limitations to the technology remain considerable, as no one has yet determined how the energy produced from deep water turbines would be transmitted to shore, except via transmission lines.

One farm, the Hywind Scotland pilot project, consists of five turbines twenty-five kilometers off the coast of Scotland, capable of generating 30 MW of power. Hywind was partially funded by Norwegian oil company Statoil, which which hopes to use it to demonstrate the feasibility of deep water wind technology. Once complete in late 2017, Hywind will demonstrate the capabilities of deep water wind technology for the first time and produce enough power for around 20,000 homes.

Another deep water wind farm is planned at Dogger Bank by Statoil and British firm SSE. The project includes three separate facilities, and is capable of producing 1.2 GW of power. The farms will be located between 125 and 195 kilometers from the coast.

Offshore wind is a major factor in European energy, but has yet to make much of a splash in the United States. Compared to 3600 European turbines capable of producing 12.6 GW, the U.S. boasts only a handful of offshore projects, most of which are still being developed.

The global offshore industry was worth $20.3 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow to $57.2 billion by 2022, according to a report from Zion Market Research. Declining costs made the formerly prohibitively expensive offshore wind a much more affordable proposition—costs have fallen 32 percent over the past five years.

Most of the new growth in wind won’t come from Europe or the U.S., but from China, which is set to increase offshore wind capacity fourfold by 2020.

Yet there’s potential for the United States to harness offshore wind, and estimates indicate near-shore turbines could produce as much as 1600 GW if the full capacity was harnessed.

Substantial challenges remain for developing offshore or deep water wind energy. Expertise is in short supply, as few companies possess the means to manage such complex projects. Based on the success of projects on the U.S. East Coast and in Europe, however, it’s possible that offshore wind will be aggressively developed, particularly now that renewable energy continues to grow as a major source for global energy demand.

oilprice.com



15 Comments on "Can Deep Water Wind Farms Power The World?"

  1. coffeeguyzz on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 10:45 am 

    No.

  2. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 12:17 pm 

    Seems like another perpetual motion machine–

  3. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 12:52 pm 

    Seems like Coffee Guy has eloquently
    summarized in his meticulous
    dissenting opinion.

    Meanwhile first rusty cargo ship with
    both engines out…, will mow em all down,
    drifting thru in a storm.

    Now that otta be good for a laugh.
    Plug in the popcorn popper, and put
    new batteries in the TV remote.

  4. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 1:39 pm 

    Water always wins.

  5. Outcast_Searcher on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 2:57 pm 

    So vague FUD is the best the doomers have in the face of all this potential?

    Got it. No wonder, over time, the predictions of those like zerohedge are wrong the VAST majority of the time.

  6. sunweb on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 3:01 pm 

    This issue was never answer by our hopiist
    HEAT FOR TOMORROW

    Many materials used in our industrial world require energy from mining to manufacturing for processing and transportation. The energy for some of these products is in the form of high temperatures – 2000° F (nearly 1100°C).
    These processes run 24/7 365 days.

    There are proposals that solar and wind energy collecting devices can provide the energy to maintain the industrial world. To look at this possibility, solar electric panels, wind turbines and concentrated solar installations in the form of parabolic trough collectors (PTC) have been assessed.

    The energy requirements in 2010 for the following essential components of our industrial world are provided: steel, aluminum, chromium, copper, manganese, cement and glass. This energy would be mining, processing and transporting to name some. Other important components of the industrialized world such as nickel and cobalt are not considered because they are part of the high temperature processing of other ore metals.

    The kWh output and area required for installations of solar electric panels, wind turbines and PTC has been researched. This then is divided into the energy (exajoules converted to kWh) required for global production of each material in 2010.
    NEEDED
    121,214.45 Square Miles of Solar Electric Collectors
    257,472 square miles and 2,807,276 Wind Turbines
    77183.4 square miles of PTCs
    There are many other critical components of our global industrialized world that require industrial heat (lead, silver, tin, food processing) that are right at the top heating limit of solar devices. They must also be included in an all “renewable” future. If only half of important materials were provided, what would our world be like?

    IN AN INDUSTRIALIZED SOCIETY, IT FALLS TO THE PROMOTERS OF A FUTURE FOR “RENEWABLE”
    ENERGY TO SHOW HOW THESE ESSENTIAL
    MATERIALS AND SO MUCH ELSE CAN BE PROVIDED.

    See maps, images and calculations at:
    http://sunweber.blogspot.com/2017/08/heat-for-tomorrow-many-materials-used.html

  7. Davy on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 3:21 pm 

    OS, ZH is a news amalgamator. While the site tends to be a bit bearish I would not call them doomer. The status quo is alive and well at ZH.

  8. rockman on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 4:36 pm 

    “Can Deep Water Wind Farms Power The World?”. An unimportant question. Critical question: Can Economically Viable Deep Water Wind Farms Power The World?

    Texas obvious has the best potential of any state for offshore wind for a variety of reasons. But as long as we have seemingly unlimited onshore sites that should be much more economic why would it happen?

  9. coffeeguyzz on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 4:51 pm 

    Onshore and off are going to encounter increasing pushback for a whole bunch of reasons.
    Texas paved the way by having the public pay for the massive, expensive transmission lines.
    This enables several independent outfits (and Ol’Uncle Warren is jumping in bigtime) to attempt to build whirley farms and only worry about smaller lines to hook up to the big takeaways.

    This whole power/electricity field is both fascinating and topical as natgas is bulling its way into the mix.
    Despite a lot of rah rah, the economics of renewables – MOST specifically offshore whirleys – are just horrendous.
    The players involved are well aware of this, hence the over-the-top attempts to stop the Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley, Mountaineer and other pipelines bringing fuel from the Appalachian Basin to the southeast (upper Midwest, also).

    Once those massive (1/1.6 Gigawatt) Combined Cycle Gas Turbine plants are up and running with AB gas for fuel, its ‘lights out’ (get it?.lights out. I crack me up) for the Ra and Zephyr worshippers as they will never favorably compete.

  10. Cloggie on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 8:00 pm 

    “Texas obvious has the best potential of any state for offshore wind for a variety of reasons. But as long as we have seemingly unlimited onshore sites that should be much more economic why would it happen?”

    Everything depends on average wind speeds. The Gulf of Mexico is not that good. The shallow North Sea is much better, but the best is the Taiwan Straits.

    Holland has a four times higher population density than Texas. That is the reason Holland builds offshore and Texas onshore.

    http://www.4coffshore.com/windfarms/windspeeds.aspx

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/suitable-offshore-wind-locations/#more-62864

  11. rockman on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 11:29 pm 

    Cloggie – Which is why I limited my comment to the US. Europe’s primary hurdle is a lack of onshore sites for wind farms for a number of reasons.

  12. Cloggie on Sat, 14th Oct 2017 12:49 am 

    In Europe there are many, many more onshore than offshore sites. But the industry has become very professional over the past few years and now offshore wind parks of 150 and more large turbines are rolled out in a matter of months.

  13. Go Speed Racer on Sat, 14th Oct 2017 5:01 pm 

    If ya hook that windmill up,
    like a motor, rather than a generator?

    Just turn the wires around.

    Makes it into a great big fan.
    Will blow away all the black smoke
    from me and Mick burning tires.

  14. Kenz300 on Sat, 14th Oct 2017 5:11 pm 

    Wind and solar are the future. Fossil fuels are the past.
    The sooner we transition the better.

    Two-thirds of world’s new energy capacity in 2016 was renewable: IEA

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1113115_two-thirds-of-worlds-new-energy-capacity-in-2016-was-renewable-iea

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