Offshore wind energy – Germany finds out it’s not as easy as it seems

The German newspaper Spiegel Online reported last week how Germany’s offshore wind farms were expecting brisk business after Germany apparently turned its back on Nuclear solutions.

However, with EnBW’s first commercial wind farm almost complete in the Baltic Sea, it’s highlighted the huge costs involved in building wind farms in such regions where the depth of the ocean is anything up to 50meters.

The 21 turbines cover an area of 2.7 square miles and will feed approx 185 gigawatt hours of electricity into the grid each year – enough to supply around 50,000 homes.

The environmental conditions aside, there is also the problem of distributing off-shore power to the south of Germany where industry is heaviest and the need the most.

And with environmentalists also calling for care due to the harm they believe is being done to sea life disturbed by the noise of the deep sea foundations being made, some analysts are predicting that Germany may still yet, switch to lower cost, quicker to inaugurate, onshore wind farms.

How Germany’s decisions and experiences may affect UK policy remains to be seen.

photo credit: rick rowland

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