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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
Data source for image

 

Data source: [Fraunhofer IEE]

 

 

Highcharts Example
Data source for image

 

Data source: [Fraunhofer IEE]

 

 

Highcharts Example
Data source for image

 

Data source: [Fraunhofer IEE]

 

 

 

The absolute distribution of European offshore wind turbines by water depth and distance from the coast is shown in the matrix (heat map) in the following figure. As hotspots with more than 300 wind turbines installed in each case, locations can be identified at water depths of 5 m to 10 m and coastal distances of 5 km to 10 km as well as at 15 m to 20 m water depth and 15 km to 20 km coastal distance. These areas are colored orange or red in the display. The German offshore projects are on average 58 km away from the coastline, the average water depth is 29 metres. This distinguishes them strongly from other European projects: the average water depth here is 17 metres and the average coastal distance is 20 km.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Data source: [4C Offshore]

 

 

The following figure shows the average coastal distance and water depth of the European offshore wind turbines, but without floating test facilities. Offshore wind turbines in the German EEZ have the largest average water depth of 29 metres. The turbines in Finland and Sweden have the lowest water depths with 9 metres. The largest average coastal distances are 58 km in Germany and 37 km in Belgium. The OWP with the longest coastal distance has remained Global Tech 1 since commissioning, with a distance of 115 km to the German coast and a water depth of 41 metres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

(excluding the floating test turbines in Norway)

Data source:

[4C Offshore]

 

 

The greater distances to the coast are generally accompanied by increasing water depths. The developers of offshore wind farms endeavour to exploit favourable geographical conditions wherever possible in order to limit the costs of foundations. Most European projects are located in water depths of up to about 40 metres. The share of projects in water depths greater than 40 metres is still comparatively low at 4 percent in 2018. The next 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: [4C Offshore]