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Offshore wind turbine cost to be cut by a third?

The cost of offshore wind turbines could be cut by a third through the use of new approaches, according to the UK Energy Technologies Institutes (ETI).

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

The ETI’s Helm Wind project aims to deliver step-change improvements in the economics of the offshore wind power station of the future, bringing together multinational power companies with wind energy and offshore experience from E.ON and BP, power systems and engineering expertise from Rolls-Royce and the research and design capabilities of the University of Strathclyde.

To make offshore wind competitive, electricity costs need to be in line with current onshore wind costs by 2020 and with conventional generation by 2050. Annual offshore farm availability needs to be increased to 97-98% or better, and technical uncertainties reduced to allow offshore wind farms to be financed in a manner, and at costs, equivalent to onshore wind today.

30% cost reduction

The project has found that costs could be around 30% less than current state of the art offshore wind turbines with the potential for additional savings as the technology is developed further.

ETI Chief Executive, Dr David Clarke, says: “This project took a completely fresh look at all aspects of offshore wind turbines to identify concepts and technologies that could deliver significant reductions in the cost of energy.

“It examined everything from the rotor diameter and speed, the number of blades, whether they should face upwind or downwind, drive-train options and support structures.

“The project has shown that sufficient improvements could be made through technology innovation to deliver energy costs that are comparable with the current onshore wind costs as well as identifying that the optimum turbine size for offshore is significantly larger than the current state of the art ones being developed.

“The information that we have learnt from Helm Wind along with other projects in our offshore wind programme will now be analysed further and inform our next projects that help to provide affordable, reliable and secure energy sources for the future.”

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Kari Williamson, Assistant Editor said

21 April 2011
@Gregor Giebel - ETI has been contacted, so we'll have to wait and see what they can tell us. In the meantime, we do have a host of articles on various developments in offshore wind technologies around the site. Hope you will find something of interest.

Gregor Giebel said

20 April 2011
This type of press release really annoys me: it hints at great developments and welcome news, but leaves out essentially everything that I'm interested in - the details. The press release itself just says, Hey, we have some ideas, but we won't tell you about it. I would have expected a link (you're publishing to the internet, not a telex!) to a more in-depth report, for the readers with enough technical knowledge to make their own opinion, but Helm Wind doesn't even seem to have a home page. I'm getting a bit suspicious when I see science explained solely by press release...

Anumakonda said

20 April 2011
It is a welcome news for promoters of Wind Energy moreso offshore wind farms. Hitherto the main constraint for wider application of offshore wind farms has been the foundation and cable costs. Offshore wind farms are expanding at a rapid speed in many countries. The approach of Energy Technologies Institute will help to reduce the cost of offshore wind farms.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

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