New boats could help promote wind power

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 11:04 AM
posted by rene5432

States in the center of the U.S. from Minnesota to Texas have already started to invest heavily in the wind power, since it boasts lower costs than many other forms of renewable electricity. But many of the coastal parts of the country have been slow to take advantage of wind resources because of the costs of building offshore wind farms.

Now Bloomberg reports these states might be able to lower those costs, opening up massive potential for renewable electricity companies.

A big part of the costs for offshore wind farms is that companies often must adapt the boats they use from older barges designed for the oil industry. Aside from being sometimes outdated, these boats are often ill-suited to constructing wind farms.

Instead, companies like Dong Energy and RWE are constructing their own barges with tools such as movable legs to plant the boat on the seafloor, as well as a much greater capacity. These boats can help complete wind turbines much more quickly at a lower cost.

"Having these vessels is the difference between being able to build the projects that we're all looking at today and not," Paul Coffey, chief operating officer of RWE's Innogy unit, told Bloomberg.

At present, Texas is far and away the leader in wind power, largely relying on the flat, open western plains, but the U.S. boasts a great deal of potential for offshore wind.

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