A majority of future wind projects in the EU and China are going offshore while the US is seriously considering mass auction of shores for offshore wind development. Studies have shown that winds blow 40 percent more offshore than on land, which indicates that offshore wind farms comparatively outperform wind projects on land in terms of installed capacity. Despite offshore wind energy farms not being economically viable due to high installation costs, the market is constantly growing. Some studies indicate that ROI for offshore developments can be as high as 18 percent.
‘Significantly Larger than the London Array’
Last week, the United Kingdom’s Department for Energy and Climate Change got the wheels turning for the East Anglia One Offshore wind farm. The approved wind farm will be notably larger than the London Array, off the Kent coast which is currently the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
The East Anglia One wind farm will be installed with up to 325 turbines and will be set 27 miles (43km) off the Suffolk coast. The imminent wind farm project is expected to generate 2,900 jobs.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said it could "inject millions of pounds into the local and national economies. East Anglia and the rest of the UK have a lot to gain from this development. Making the most of Britain's home grown energy is crucial in creating job and business opportunities, getting the best deal for customers and reducing our reliance on foreign imports."
‘Would benefit 820,000 British households’
The 325 turbines will have an installed capacity of 1,200 megawatts, which is radically double the size of the London Array which stands at installed capacity of 630 megawatts. The turbines are approved to be over 200 meters tall. The world’s tallest wind turbine is currently Alstom’s 6-megawatt Haliade turbine that stands more than 100 meters above the sea with blades stretching 73 meters afar. Higher-capacity offshore turbines are already in testing which might in particular be used for this project. Around 820,000 British households would be benefitted from the energy generated by the East Anglia One Array.
Onshore construction for the wind farm project is expected to begin in 2016 with offshore installation scheduled for 2017. The East Anglia One Array is estimated to be completed by 2020.
The East Anglia One project is owned by ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall.
‘Global Wind Energy Market’
In 2013, China became the world’s largest wind market, with more than 14 gigawatts installed. While the UK still leads in offshore installations. Almost half of new offshore capacity installed in 2013 was in the UK, according to North American Windpower. Over the next few years, the UK might witness more interest from companies in offshore wind farms. The EU has committed €4 million to the Offshore Wind Power Development project in India, with the aim to lay the groundwork for offshore development in the developing nation.