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Floating wind farms could solve EU energy crisis

Offshore wind farms in the deep waters of the North Sea could power the European Union four times over, according to new research

The findings were revealed in an industry report published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) that called for the European Union to set renewable energy targets for 2030.

The report said floating wind turbine structures and other foundations that are specifically created for deep water could help unlock the potential of Europe’s seas in terms of wind energy generation.

Cost effective technology

The study acknowledged that the cost of developing this technology is high, but added that floating structures can be considered cost competitive as constructions built in depths over 50 metres do not require significant amounts of steel for their foundations.

Currently the EU runs at least 5GW of offshore wind capacity, roughly 3.3GW of which is located in the UK. However, if the industry is supported by European policies and the development of floating turbines is accelerated, this capacity could soar to 150GW by the year 2030.

EU renewables targets

The European Commission is set to present its proposals for the 2030 energy and climate framework later this year. Measures are expected to include carbon emission reduction schemes, renewable energy initiatives and energy efficiency targets.

However, the UK, along with a number of other countries, is opposed to any new renewable energy targets. The government believes that it would be more effective to set a difficult emissions target and allow different nations to work out how to deal with it.

Jacopo Moccia, head of policy analysis at EWEA commented that a renewables target is in fact essential when it comes to driving development of the offshore wind industry.

He said: “To allow this sector to realise 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.

“This must be backed by an industrial strategy for offshore wind including support for R&D.”

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