Tuesday, 18 May 2021 -
In this week’s report by the Wind Energy Foundation Market Research, we take an inside look into the momentum offshore wind is gaining, and it is real this time? For decades now, America’s offshore wind has had little to no progress, and it has been truly perplexing seeing as to how tremendous resource and technological availability has been.
Wind energy in the US has had several false dawns, but Europe, on the other hand, has deployed tech and harnessed it on a large scale with minimum cost and disruptions. What is astonishing is the tremendous offshore wind capacity the US has in its waters. But the Wind Energy Foundation report indicates a nationwide initiative that we all want, and big plans to achieve meaningful amounts of offshore wind energy into the national grid are underway, and it is expected to drive the kilowatt charge further down.
Oil & Gas Struggles
As the mainstay offshore Oil and Gas companies continue to struggle, the clean and renewable offshore wind prospects keep getting better. Phillip Lewis, director of World Energy Research, has acknowledged that 2021 is the year when the offshore wind gets a head start in the US. He says that based on the March targets set by the Biden team, the US is looking to achieve 30 gigawatts of offshore wind projects completed by 2030 and a further 120 gigawatts in 2050.
US Offshore Wind Energy Capacity
Lewis further asserts that with these targets set in mind, the energy landscape in the US is about to change. He notes that the US offshore, maritime, and cumulative market logistics are gearing up big time for offshore wind energy, which is expected to drive the energy growth trajectory.
The offshore wind energy capacity in the US waters, based on this week's World Energy Report, is 30 megawatts. By comparison, Europe – which is far ahead in its exploration efforts – is 25 megawatts. So, it is hugely ironic we have had a lack of progress for too long. But what initiatives can the government put in place to achieve this goal?
Infrastructure Already Underway
Cumulatively, offshore exploration, ports, marketplace, and the maritime sectors have geared up to the anticipated growth in offshore wind energy. The report has highlighted infrastructure layout that includes Service Operations Vessels (SOVs) that serve two major functions:
SOVs can be commissioned to carry out the general repair, maintenance, and wind farm operations, and inspection (for an estimated service period of 20 to 30 years).
Commissioning work of turbines in the construction and expansion phase.
Philip Lewis added, however, that the SOVs operational capacity is at 70%, and said chatter for more operation-specific vessels would be needed going forward. The other limitation is that SOVs offshore operational estimation would be within 38 miles from the shore, and that’s because preliminary tests have shown that SOVs are competitive over 38 miles offshore. Therefore, support would be needed to guarantee safety while transitioning between shores and windfarm. Notwithstanding the foreseen logistical challenges, offshore wind energy is finally coming to America.
(Edited by: The Decision Maker team)