February 1, 2023
The wild new know-how coming to offshore wind energy

The answer, as Weinstein sees it, is to construct floating generators. Offshore wind energy is following a development that oil and fuel firms charted with drilling rigs: shifting from onshore to offshore to floating installations, Weinstein mentioned.

Weinstein has been concerned in among the world’s first demonstration initiatives for floating wind energy, together with a 50 megawatt set up in Scotland. In whole, about 125 megawatts of demonstration initiatives have been put in globally, and one other 125 megawatts are beneath development. 

And the pipeline is rising rapidly. In whole, over 60 gigawatts of offshore wind initiatives internationally are within the planning phases, with South Korea, the UK, Australia, and Brazil among the many high international locations in deliberate capability. 

The wild new know-how coming to offshore wind energy
This illustration depicts six offshore wind generators. The left three are conventional fastened basis, whereas the best three are floating fashions.

JOSHUA BAUER, NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY

A milestone, and what’s subsequent

Now, California is becoming a member of the record of governments leaping into the floating wind farm recreation. 

The state auctioned off 370,000 acres of the ocean, which was divided into 5 websites throughout two areas off the coast of California. The websites are in water as much as 1,300 meters deep, and would require floating wind know-how.  My colleague James Temple revealed a narrative diving into the public sale earlier this week.

Firms bid on websites that might collectively home sufficient wind generators to generate as a lot as 4.5 gigawatts of electrical energy, sufficient to energy over 1.5 million houses. In whole, the websites bought for $757 million, with the most important website fetching almost $174 million.

The public sale represents a brand new section for floating offshore wind. Lower than a decade in the past, Weinstein instructed me at EmTech, individuals didn’t take the know-how significantly when she proposed plans to construct farms within the state. “Individuals checked out me and mentioned, ‘you’ve bought to be loopy, why are you doing this, this isn’t going to work,’” she mentioned.

Now, firms may begin the journey to constructing US floating wind farms in earnest. However the public sale is only one of a sequence of many steps between conception and energy era. Firms have years of planning and constructing forward earlier than they begin producing electrical energy from the websites. Securing the permits alone may take 5 to seven years. 

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