Offshore wind energy provides economic benefits

Tuesday, 26 November, 2013 - 13:45
The development of offshore wind energy pays off in the long run.
Photo: dpa

Offshore wind energy can guarantee security of supply, system quality and low total costs in future energy systems. This is the key finding of a new study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES).

The study comes to the conclusion that the excellent power plant characteristics of offshore wind energy systems are the main reason for the energy-economic benefits. According to the study, wind turbines at sea could achieve operating hours comparable with conventional power plants. In addition, the electricity yield can be accurately predicted. The plants can thus provide much better balancing power than other fluctuating renewable energy sources and make an important contribution to the stabilisation of the overall power system, according to the study.

The study was commissioned by Stiftung Offshore-Windenergie (Offshore Wind Energy Foundation) and was conducted with the participation of industry representatives. It analysed the feasibility, functionality and system cost of energy supply in 2050, based on three scenarios. Renewable energy sources cover 80% of the total energy demand in all three scenarios, but in different combinations. In the scenario with a high proportion of offshore wind energy, the need for back-up and storage capacity decreases significantly, consequently causing the associated flexibility costs to decrease as well. According to the study, the costs per year are between 2.9 and 5.6 billion euros lower than in the reference scenarios with very high proportions of onshore wind energy and photovoltaics.

During the presentation of the study at EWEA Offshore in Frankfurt, Managing Director of Stiftung Offshore-Windenergie Andreas Wagner said: "Offshore wind energy is essential for the energy turnaround due to its energy-economic benefits. In order to achieve this potential, continuous and ambitious addition of generating capacity as well as a clear legal framework from the future German Federal Government are necessary."

Katharina Garus