While there is a high potential for the development of offshore wind power in untapped, windy, and exposed offshore areas, the endeavour also comes with a host of challenges such as higher wind speeds, cabling, and mooring costs. Nevertheless, it has been shown that floating designs could achieve lower levelised costs compared with bottom mounted designs, due to their lower sensitivity to costs increasing with water depth.
And despite most of the implemented technologies in offshore floating turbines having a limited capacity of about 6MW, Norway’s US$560 million Hywind Tampen Project in the North Sea, set for completion in 2022, will have 11 turbines with a total generating capacity of 88MW. This shows that even the capacity constraint issue is being resolved.
2. Energy storage
Of the various forms of renewable energy sources, solar and wind power are generally considered the most unstable due to the direct correlation between power generation levels and weather conditions. However, new technologies have been adopted to address the intermittent nature of solar and wind power and absorb the fluctuations in power generation, and one of these game changers is energy storage.
The key to efficient energy storage is having affordable and flexible energy storage systems that can store and provide power for up to 24 hours, have enough power to cope with peak spikes, and are scalable.
While conventional energy storage systems on a residential or commercial scale are mostly designed to provide power for a shorter duration of time, long-duration energy storage systems can consistently charge and discharge at their rated power, or close to their maximum power, for up to 100 hours. This capability is essential in dealing with the intermittent nature of wind and solar power and helps maximise the utilisation of renewable energy sources.
To achieve these goals, future technologies in energy storage need to be more diversified than the existing lithium-ion battery systems.