Offshore wind – Strong offshore growth.
Today, the majority of European wind power is still generated in onshore wind farms. Over the next few years, they will be joined by enormous offshore wind farms that offer a number of advantages. Apart from greater acceptance among the general public, winds in coastal areas and at sea are stronger and more persistent. This will lead to lower electricity generation costs in the long term. First, however, huge chal-lenges need to be overcome with regard to technology and materials. Wind turbines will have to be installed in waters of up to 40 metres in depth. Electricity generated up to 100 kilometres off the coast needs to be transported to consumers on the mainland via a grid connection.
RWE Innogy has already gained valuable experience with its existing wind farms at North Hoyle (60 MW) and Rhyl Flats (90 MW) off the Welsh coast, which will help it to realise a number of ambitious projects at other sites in Europe. At the present time, RWE Innogy is building offshore wind power plants in Europe with an installed capacity of 1,000 MW on its own or together with partners. The company aims to obtain permits for additional offshore wind projects of a total of 5,000 MW by 2014.