Analysts claim that the electricity generated offshore is becoming more economical. The industrial giant Siemens is a leader in the production of wind turbines for offshore wind farms (the company occupies more than 60% of the global offshore market).
Siemens and other companies involved in the wind power business have set a goal: to produce electricity by offshore wind farms at the cost of less than 10 euro cents per 1 kWh by 2020.
Investments in the European wind power industry are primarily based on the continuous development of technology.
Siemens has announced that another step toward the goal to reduce the price of electricity has been made thanks to the new 8-megawatt offshore wind turbines (the previous effective models amounted up to 7 MW of installed capacity). With a rotor similar to earlier models (154 m in diameter), an improved and more powerful model will be able to generate approximately 10% more energy per year, depending on the location. This difference will be sufficient to provide about 8,000 households with electricity.
Taking into account the power of the turbines alone, it is already possible to claim that the new wind farm will generate the same amount of energy from nine turbines instead of ten under equal conditions. This fact will reduce investment and operating costs for each watt of generated power. In addition, the increase of energy output can be achieved by the use of stronger magnets of an improved generator.
Constructors reveal a fundamental change in the traditional design of the turbine drive: a direct drive of the new model does not need a gearbox (which increases the speed to the level required by the generator), now the synchronous generator with powerful magnets will convert the initial kinetic energy of the rotor into electrical energy. Without a heavy gearbox, the construction will be lighter and more compact, and with fewer components, it will require less maintenance.
The prototype of the new wind turbine (SWT-8.0-154) is expected to be installed on the coast near the Danish city of Osterild at the beginning of 2017, and the production will be launched in early 2018.
In the long term (by 2025), Siemens expects further reduction in the cost of wind farms and the cost of production of electricity will be reduced to less than 8 euro-cents per 1 kWh.