Offshore wind farms throughout EU
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is likely going to have a detrimental effect on marine wildlife and those who make a living off the bounteous coastal waters for decades, leaving in its wake a genuine call for a cleaner, alternative method of generating power like offshore renewables.
Indeed, both President Barack Obama and Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have stalled future projects on offshore drilling due to the current Gulf of Mexico crisis. This is a bright move, given the public mood to the catastrophe and the livelihoods that are affected.
Deeper oil wells mean little room for error
What both Obama and Schwarzenegger need to realise, is that oil is more difficult to reach than it was ten years ago, and oil companies are facing stiffer obstacles in obtaining crude deep in the earth's core. Like the Gulf of Mexico disaster, drilling offshore is even more difficult, and with companies now abstracting oil from the continental slope a mile below the surface, accidents are more likely to happen, and as those watching the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico can attest, it makes securing leaking riser pipes that much more difficult.
The oil spill may have caused a red flag across the Atlantic in America, but its impact will also be felt in Europe. The Offshore Valuation report, published last week by the Offshore Valuation Group, outlined the potential from just the North Sea alone, which could possibly generate the equivalent of a billion barrels of crude oil a year.
European push on wind farms
Indeed, across the globe offshore wind farms are gaining momentum as countries on the continent make a serious investment in renewable technology. According to the EIC Monitor, the number of new projects in the renewables sector has risen by 200 percent in value, quarter on quarter during the first three months of 2010.
Included within this, is a announced US$150 billion UK Round 3 Offshore Wind project. This project comes about as the UK hits the 1 GW milestone of installed offshore wind turbine power generation, with 336 installed turbines distributed across 11 wind farms in UK waters. The UK currently has over 40 GW of offshore wind projects at various stages of development, which are expected to be installed by 2020.
Germany has also taken to offshore wind farms, and is planning to build one in the North Sea called Alpha Ventus, with the desired result being 12 MWs of electricity. The German Environment Minister is quoted as saying they aim to produce 25 GW in offshore wind energy by 2030. This adds to Germany’s currently installed land based wind farm capacity of nearly 26 GW.
The French Environment Minister, Jean-Louis Borloo, has announced French plans for the construction of offshore offshore wind farms on 11 proposed sites.
And it isn't just France, Germany and Britain that are getting serious about upping the current renewable power outlay. Sweden, Holland and Norway are also keen to pursue cleaner modes of transport with offshore wind farms.
It won't be easy, as modern infrastructure is built solely on oil production and usage, and clean energy production stands at only a measly two percent of total energy production. But oil spill or not, it is a push in the right direction.
Like this article? Get the RSS feed: