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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Offshore wind—an overview

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In this article, the state of the art technology developments and challenges that need to be overcome as the emerging offshore wind industry matures over the coming decade to become a significant source of electricity generation are discussed. A brief summary of the history and drivers of the offshore wind industry is provided followed by more detailed analysis of the current market, focusing on the major developments in Northwest Europe. The offshore wind industry is in the process of shifting from shallow water, near shore projects, to deeper water projects, much farther from shore. This has necessitated the development of larger turbines, a range of substructures, and more advanced installation techniques. The primary components constituting an offshore windfarm—turbines, foundations, substructures, electrical and transmission infrastructure, installation, and operations and maintenance—are analyzed and the opportunities for improvements in both technology and productivity within each component are presented. Technical advances in turbines, substructures, vessels, and the electrical infrastructure will allow larger turbines to be constructed and deployed. These, combined with productivity improvements gained through serial production in manufacturing and construction, represent the most significant ways in which the industry will advance in the future. This article is categorized under: Wind Power > Systems and Infrastructure
Offshore wind turbines—Areva and Repower 5 MW machines (photographs courtesy of AREVA and REpower).
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Mothership concept (photographs courtesy of SeaEnergy Marine).
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Wind farm access vessel (photographs courtesy of Windcat).
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Conceptual Installation vessel design courtesy of IHS Merewede.
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Substructures (photographs courtesy of AREVA, Scaldis, and Bifab).
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