Written By: Emma Websdale
Deep-water wind turbines in Europe’s Atlantic and Mediterranean seas could power 150GW of clean energy and create 318,000 jobs in Europe by 2030, states a new report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
The report, an analysis of the amount of clean energy that could be unlocked with floating deep-water wind turbines in Europe, reveals that over 145 million households could be powered with clean energy by 2030, helping to strengthen Europe’s energy security.
Offshore wind is one of the fastest growing maritime sectors. Five gigawatts (GW) of capacity were installed at the end of 2012 alone. According to the report, this figure could be eight times higher by 2020, with European offshore wind producing 40 GW, enough clean energy to match 4% of European total electricity consumption. By 2030, offshore wind capacity could total 150 GW and meet 14% of Europe’s electricity demand.
This growth in offshore wind energy by 2030 could create 318,000 jobs, drive technology exports and help lower greenhouse gas emissions significantly.
However, the report states that in order for these gains to be achievable, a supportive legislative framework is required, coupled with new offshore designs that are suitable to operate at water depths greater than 50 meters (m). Currently, commercial offshore technologies are economically limited to water depths between 40 and 50 m.
“To allow this sector to realize its potential and deliver major benefits for Europe, a clear and stable legislative framework for after 2020 – based on a binding 2030 renewable energy target – is vital”, says Jacopo Moccia, Health of Political Affairs at EWEA. “This must be backed by an industrial strategy for offshore wind including support for Research and Development.”
The report, entitled Deep Water: The next step for offshore wind energy, says that if these requirements are met, the first full-scale deep offshore wind farms could be in operation by 2017, adding to the two currently existing floating turbines that produce clean energy in European waters.