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The Future of Offshore Wind Energy



For years wind energy has been a valuable source of energy, but innovation in wind energy has remained stagnant. Today, we have sources like offshore wind energy that can produce even more power than wind energy on land. This productive form is still new, but the technology is continually moving forward. With offshore wind energy, we can create more clean power that can reduce our impact on the environment, while simultaneously keeping the wind turbines in use out of the public eye so as to not create any eyesores. The creation of better technology and turbines will be deciding factors that will determine whether offshore wind energy will persist as a prominent source of energy. Offshore wind energy is leading the charge towards producing renewable, clean energy. Offshore wind has a huge amount of benefits, such as reducing dependence on fossil fuels, providing new jobs, and potentially lowering the cost of energy. According to Benjamin Fox in 2015, “The nation boasts over 4000 GW of potential gross offshore wind resources, approximately four times the current generating capacity of the electrical grid.” This alone would have a tremendous impact on reducing CO2 emissions and would provide energy for the world’s growing consumption. Fox also makes clear that, “Offshore wind also has increased utility because the highest offshore wind speeds generally correlate with the periods of highest electricity demand in coastal cities.” Since the energy crisis is one of the most important problems we face today, this problem also includes every other country. Fox points out that, “In 2012 despite the boom in domestic natural gas production, wind energy was the largest source of new electric generating capacity for the first time in history.” As the United States is the leader in clean energy, we also can set an example for other nations to follow by taking the first big steps. Every country in the world requires power, and efficient solutions are not always easy to come by. However, offshore wind energy offers one of the safest, cleanest, and most productive sources available. Bruce Beaubouef from Offshore recorded in an interview that, “... we believe that production is going to need to ramp up in other areas to meet global demand in the future.” This demonstrates the rising needs of energy, especially in the United States. Now, we have the opportunity to use low cost, technologically sound offshore wind energy. Beaubouef’s interview summarizes, “The big picture is that we see a production gap coming, and we think that gap will need to be filled by offshore production.” This new form of energy is rapidly growing, and it can supplement or even almost replace fossil fuels in the future. One of the largest counterarguments to wind energy is its cost. However, The Offshore Wind Research and Development branch of the US government has spent years giving grants to companies and researchers, reducing the cost of implementing offshore wind energy platforms so that cost is slowly becoming a non-issue. Beaubouef also published in his interview with one of the largest companies looking more into offshore energy that: “We have a group of professionals working on this who have spent the last 20 to 30 years designing TLPs and semis for use in the Gulf of Mexico. They are taking that knowledge and looking for ways to design offshore production facilities in a more cost-effective fashion.” Another common argument against offshore wind energy is the sporadic production it can have, as it sometimes produces no electricity, such as when there are periods without any wind activity. However, this can be solved by just balancing wind power with other forms of fossil fuels to make sure energy is always available. Also, greater storage of the power being made would ensure that no blackouts would happen, even if the production went down drastically or all at once. According to Fox, “This gives offshore wind turbines a higher average capacity factor that may translate into significant gains in electricity generation.” What extra certainty would this give skeptics? Now, since we have the chance to supply our growing demand of energy needs, we should take the chance to use it, and get past the skeptics. Beaubouef also notes in his argument “it becomes clear that their goal is to reduce the overall cost to build offshore platforms and production facilities.” Additionally, because a nation can produce its own offshore energy, it can reduce dependency on foreign countries for energy. A healthy and independent energy source can now give us a solution with very few downsides. Our choices on whether or not we will fund and do research on this growing energy source might be a decision we have to make soon. Without cleaner resources to use, Earth is at risk of slowly running out of other natural resources. Offshore wind energy can give us a huge source of green electricity, preventing a critical energy shortage. In summary, clean energy is a necessity, and without it, the Earth we know may not be the same again. Sources: Beaubouef, Bruce. (2018). New, cost-effective facility designs can help move oil and gas projects forward: Offshore wind energy market increasingly attractive, say SNC-Lavalin officials. Offshore, 78(10), 28. Retrieved from https://www.snclavalin.com/~/media/Files/S/SNC-Lavalin/documents/publications/o-g-offshore-wind-brochure_en.pdf

Fox, Benjamin. (2015). The Offshore Grid: The Future of America’s Offshore Wind Energy Potential. Ecology Law Quarterly, 42(3), 651–698. Retrieved from https://lawcat.berkeley.edu/record/1126953

Offshore Wind Research and Development. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/offshore-wind-research-and-development


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