Offshore windfarms produce electricity – a lot of it to the tune of more than 4,200 gigawatts of capacity, or 13,500 terawatt-hours per year of generation.
The global leaders in offshore wind are China, Germany and the UK. Currently, there is only one offshore wind farm commercially operating in the US – the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, which opened in December 2016 with the capacity to generate enough energy to power 17,000 homes.
However, by 2035, the United States aims to have 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity along its coastlines. The goal is aligned with the Biden Administration’s other target for permitting 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.
Offshore wind farms generate electricity from wind blowing across the sea. They are considered more efficient than onshore wind farms, thanks to the higher speed of winds, greater consistency and lack of physical interference that the land or human-made objects can present.
But offshore wind farms are also most costly and more challenging to build than their onshore cousins. Offshore wind farms require more complex infrastructure to support them and, as a result, are more expensive to construct.
Additionally, higher wind speeds, strong seas and accessibility issues makes offshore wind farms more challenging to maintain. Consequently, while onshore wind turbines can be owned or operated by local cooperatives, or even by individuals, offshore wind turbines require a considerable scale of investment that means they’re usually corporately owned.
Fortunately, technology is stepping up to help with the operation of offshore windfarms, which should make them more cost effective in the future.
For example, About 80% of the cost of maintaining offshore windfarms is spent on sending people to carry out inspections and repairs via helicopter, maintaining support vehicles, such as boats, and building offshore renewable energy platforms to house turbine workers.
However, a unified team of humans, robots and AI working together could maintain this infrastructure with significantly less impact on the environment and better safety for humans.
With the help of 5G use cases, these teams might include humans working remotely with multi-robot teams of autonomous aerial and underwater vehicles, as well as with crawling or land-based robots.
Want to know more about offshore wind farms? Tonex offers Offshore Windfarm Training, a 2-day course that help participants to understand the technological developments of offshore wind farms, different types of wind turbines implemented for offshore projects, control of offshore wind farms, protection and reliability assessment of offshore wind technologies.
Additionally, Tonex offers more than two dozen courses in Power and Energy – everything from power grid and microgrid training to NERC CIP, offshore wind farms, smart grids, synchronous machines and much more.
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.