28 JULIO 2020

Offshore wind power: Offshore energy

Offshore wind farm

Wind power is one of the renewable energy fields with the most potential in our country. As we indicated in the previous post published a few weeks ago, wind power produces 21.5% of the installed energy capacity in our country.

In this post we are going to talk about a variant, not much different than wind power: Offshore wind power; which is simply the use of ocean wind currents. In other words, wind turbine facilities are directly installed out in the ocean for the purpose of taking advantage of ocean air currents.

Are offshore wind facilities more efficient than onshore wind facilities?

To answer this question, we have to take into consideration different points of view:

  • Power generation: Considering that, due to the absence of any natural or artificial barrier, the air currents are greater and more constant, offshore wind power farms are obviously much more efficient than onshore wind power farms.
  • Visual impact: Since these facilities are based on the seabed, visual impact is minimized compared to the other wind farms.
  • Land availability: Land availability for offshore wind power facilities is much greater than for onshore wind power farms, since the land is mostly covered by water and there are fewer limitations in this space.
  • Construction cost: Many of the above benefits become a single drawback at this point; i.e., the cost for the construction of offshore wind power farms is very expensive.

Spain is one of the countries which has the most extensive coastline in all of Europe, and furthermore, there are many companies specializing in this type of offshore energy; however, due to the peculiarities of large segments of our coastline, it is not possible to establish a duly-fixed foundation.

But there is a glimmer of hope, the latest draft of the PNIEC (National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030) has included offshore technology as one of the technologies that Spain must implement in its plan for the next decade. According to information contained in this draft, we can expect: “Technical advances that allow the reduction of the costs involved in this technology, emphasizing floating solutions and assembly techniques with reduced impact on the marine environment, increasing the potential areas for implementation of marine wind farms and accelerating their contribution to the decarbonization objectives () Innovative solutions will also be supported for wind power facilities on land that lead to a reduction in costs and improvements in manageability.

In view of the above, we expect that in the not too distant future, Spain can take the lead in the implementation of this type of renewable energy, which is less invasive and much more efficient.

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