NewEnergyNews: Wind Builders Eye Rich Pacific Winds, Floating Foundations

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    Thursday, June 02, 2016

    Wind Builders Eye Rich Pacific Winds, Floating Foundations

    New California Gold Rush Beckons Wind Developers Off Coast

    Jennifer Douhy, May 17, 2016 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

    Wind developers in California and Hawaii, tempted by the rich resource just off those states’ coasts but stymied by the deep waters that prevent the use of standard offshore wind turbines fixed to the ocean floor, have proposed using cutting edge floating wind turbine foundations. There are only 15.33 MW of installed floating wind capacity in the world, less than 1% of the 11.6 GW of global offshore wind capacity in operation. An estimated 1 TW of generation capacity off U.S. Pacific coasts, 13 times the current U.S. onshore wind installed capacity. The question is whether it can be harvested cost-competitively. A recent University of Delaware study that large scale development could reduce a previous estimate of offshore wind’s levelized cost of energy of $0.24/kWh to $0.108/kWh by 2030. Floating foundations cost 8 times more than fixed foundations but proponents argue they can be more cost effective for two reasons. First, installation is cheaper because instead of seabed construction they can be built dockside and towed into place. Second, they can be reused when the turbines they support are swapped out for new updated technology. click here for more

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