Monday, September 3, 2007

Netherlands Plans Offshore Wind Farm

The Netherlands plans to build a $522 million, 60-turbine wind farm with one catch: it will be built 14 miles out at sea.

It will be known as Q7

It is the farthest offshore wind farm anywhere in the world, and its developers say a further 5 to 10 more will likely follow in the next few years.

The 60 turbines will generate enough electricity to power 125,000 households.

"Most campaigns against turbines are based around the noise and the visual impact, and these have been reduced by going offshore. It is more expensive to do it here than to do it on land, but we have all agreed we don't have enough space on land," said Bernard van Hemert, one of the wind farm's engineering directors.

Dutch engineers say the foundations for the turbines can be hammered 82 feet into the ground in just a matter of hours, although there are myriad other challenges.

"They can be a better solution. But the problem is people tend to believe they are an entire solution. We think the vast sums spent on wind farms would be better spent on research and innovation in other energy sources," said Jim Mollet, chairman of a Dutch group campaigning against wind energy.

Wind farms cannot generate the sheer amounts of energy Europe requires with cost or space efficiency, he added.

The turbines extend about 320 feet from the ocean, with three blades, each 130 feet long. It is hoped that when they start rotating in early 2008 they will cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 225,000 tons, helping the Dutch to meet a target of 20 percent renewable energy use by 2020.

Via :: Reuters