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Offshore windpower is a very special case. The turbines are much bigger, the blades are longer, the construction equipment necessary is best purpose-built. This is one reason why offshore is beginning to take off in northern Europe, while for the rest of the world it makes more sense to truly begin to develop the resource onshore first.
The North Sea is like a giant pool table, found nowhere else in the world. Land-based turbines are constrained by a fickle populace and timid, blind politicians, in order to fill the still basically unfilled land resource. So offshore seems the way to go.
The technical challenges will be met, as offshore oil and gas have proven. But the North Sea benefits from a confluence of conditions which are not present elsewhere. Not least is the fact the industry is projected to be so huge that the expense of purpose-built ships for construction and transport make economic sense. In addition, it makes sense for manufacturing and assembly facilities to be built along the shores.
This is not the case in the US, except in the case where windpower has already been chosen to be the Nummer Einz renewable electricity producer. There is so much high resource land mass in the US and Canada that the extra expense of going offshore makes little sense.
IN fact, last week the head of the leading consultancy in the world, Garrad Hassan, stated that even Europe should look to developing its onshore resource as priority #1. (Andy Garrad is an old colleague, and while i agree, i'm not sure this should have been said publicly... especially in front of the key Mid-East financiers... still hat's off.)
Europe will gain much from a measured approach to offshore wind, but only if offshore is seen as an ADDITION to using the onshore resource first. In other markets, getyourshittogetherTM on land first. (that's a slogan from Abby Rockefeller's pioneering composting toilet, Clivus Multrum, from decades ago. miss you, Abby.)
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
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