Emerging Technologies Transforming Offshore Wind Energy
High Reliability and Cost-effective Large-scale Energy Production Drive the Deployment of Offshore Wind Energy Farms
Energy generation is the most crucial building block of a country's economic development and a key determinant of its progress. Population growth requires a higher degree of economic development, which directly requires more energy to be generated. To meet the rising energy demands, the energy sector is under pressure to expand rapidly as countries highly dependent on fossil fuels grapple with the demand-supply situation. Therefore, it is imperative for many countries to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing the mix of renewable energy generation sources enables a smooth transition into a low-carbon economy. A radical transformation toward the green energy generation sector will be important to achieve energy and decarbonization targets.
Currently, offshore-based renewable energy generation is gaining traction and approaching increased deployment globally. Offshore wind speeds tend to be steadier and faster than on land, providing a reliable renewable energy source. A small increase in wind speeds results in a large increase in renewable energy generation. This will be one of the key drivers for developers to pursue the installation of large-scale offshore wind energy generation farms. Offshore wind farms significantly negate potential social conflicts arising from indiscriminate land use or other issues creating unrest, which other renewable energy generation technologies typically confront. Offshore wind farms (based on fixed and floating foundations with turbines or other airborne systems) are witnessing increased large-scale deployment that will help several countries meet their energy demands while transitioning to a low-carbon economy. However, installing offshore wind farms requires very high initial investment. Other challenges include labor-intensive on-site assembly as well as high operation and maintenance costs, restricting the adoption of large-scale offshore wind farms. The study also analyzes future research focus areas and technology challenges within offshore wind energy. Special attention is given to describing existing and future offshore wind turbine support structures and the drivetrain concepts in use at commercial offshore turbines. It also outlines the offshore wind energy technology roadmap.