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Distance to shore and water depth

 

The expansion of offshore wind energy from the coast to far into the sea is incremental. The first wind farms still being used for trialing purposes had been built at relatively short distances to the coast, and in more flat water. The following figure illustrates that increasing levels of experience meant more and more projects were completed at greater distances from the coast and in deeper water.

 

 

Highcharts Example
sourcedata for image

 

Data source: [Fraunhofer IEE]

 

 

Highcharts Example
sourcedata for image

 

Data source: [Fraunhofer IEE]

 

 

Highcharts Example
sourcedata for image

 

Data source: [Fraunhofer IEE]

 

 

 

The matrix in the figure shows the absolute distribution of offshore wind turbines by depth of water and distance from the coast in the matrix (heatmap). The hotspots identified, with over 300 erected wind turbines each, were locations in water depths between 5 and 10 m and distances from the coast between 5 and 10 km (marked orange) and in water depths of 15 to 20 m and distances from the coast between 15 and 20 km. These areas are marked orange or red. The German offshore projects are an average of 60 km from the coastline, with an average water depth of 29 m.

 

 

 

Heatmap of installed offshore wind turbine locations by water depth and distance from the coast

Data source: [Fraunhofer IEE]

 

 

The figure shows the average distance from the coast and the water depth of the European offshore wind turbines, but not any floating test turbines. The offshore wind turbines in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (AWZ) are situated in the greatest average depth of water, at 29 metres. The turbines in Finland (6 m) and Sweden (9 m) are erected in the shallowest water. The greatest average distances from the coast are in Germany (60 km) and Belgium (37 km). The offshore wind farm currently furthest from shore is Global Tech 1, at a distance of 112 kilometres from the German coast. The wind turbines in Finland have the shortest average distance to the coast (4 km).

 

 

 

 

 

Water depths and distances from the coast of the European wind farms by country

(excluding the floating test turbines in Norway)

Data source: [Fraunhofer IEE]

 

 

Greater distances from the coast generally go hand in hand with increasing water depths. The developers of the offshore wind farms strive to take advantage of favourable geographical conditions wherever possible in order to limit the costs for the foundations. Most of the projects are located in water depths of up to 40 metres. At 3.5 percent in 2017, the proportion of projects in water depths greater than 40 metres is still comparatively low. The following figure shows an overview of the development of the average annual coastal distances and the average water depths of newly commissioned OWPs.

 

 

 

 

Development of shore distnace and water depth of newly installed offshore wind parks

Data source: [Fraunhofer IWES]