Bergen Energy Lab (BEL)

Trial Lecture – Valerie-Marie Kumer

Offshore Wind Energy – Potential, Challenges and Limitations

Valerie-Marie Kumer during her trial lecture
Energy Lab

The 29th of August, Valerie-Marie Kumer, a PhD student from the Geophysical Institute, held her trial lecture for the PhD-degree. The trial lecture had the title “Offshore Wind Energy - Potential, Challenges and Limitations”.

Valerie started off by explaining the basics of wind turbines, how the various components in the nacelle work and how a wind turbine is capable of generating energy. After explaining the technological aspects of the wind turbine itself, she turned to offshore wind turbines and talked about the different foundation designs and how they depend on the water depth.      

According to Valerie the main reasons for going offshore is that offshore locations have much higher and more stable wind than onshore locations. In addition, there are noise limitations onshore and turbines installed offshore can be installed out of sight avoiding the “not in my back yard” issue.

The UK is the world leader of offshore wind power generation, followed by Germany and Denmark. The global markets show that offshore wind reached 12 GW of capacity by the end of 2015 and is predicted to be 45 GW in 2020. Nevertheless, the environmental challenges for offshore wind are big, including the fishing industry, whale and dolphin conservation society, bird routes, seabed and fish ecology, and governmental policies, etc.

Finally, Valerie talked about the Hywind Scotland project, which is the first floating wind park in the world. Floating wind parks face many challenges, for example, the need for better control systems to keep the turbines stable in wave motions, turbine spacing, and the need for longer cables. The wind turbines for Hywind Scotland are assembled in Norway but installed outside Aberdeen in Scotland leading to major challenges in transportation of the turbines.