By Moustafa Hassab-Allah, Environment Issue Analysts on Fossil Fuels/Oil Dependency

The use of renewable energy is not an option for next generations; it is rather a commitment. One prominent energy source is wind, historically wind mills have been used in several aspects in early agriculture in rural areas. Now, it is turning to be a tool for power generation.

Wind turbines are used to serve small and medium electric loads for many deserted and isolated areas in northern Europe and Middle East Sahara like the wind Park located next to the city of Tetouan, Morocco, and Egypt is currently generating 400 MW of power from wind in its eastern desert. Wind turbines provide the advantage of smallest land footprint among other alternative resources; that is why it is vastly used in Texas, Indiana, and California, the 3 largest states in USA using wind power. Some concerns about the effect of the wind turbines on vegetation if installed on shore especially in agricultural areas aroused lately. Calls for offshore wind energy started to spread.

A major trend in the EU is bringing wind turbines offshore, Wind Energy abundance in European seas was confirmed by the European Environment Agency’s studies; that stated that offshore wind power has an economically competitive potential, and can provide between six and seven times greater than projected electricity demand for the EU till 2030.

The attraction of the offshore wind goes beyond this for consumers, they provide a ‘’ not in my backyard’’ advantage rather than other inland energy projects, they do not provide any foot print known of for people. Norway and Denmark are taking the lead to install wind turbines in the North Sea, up to 10 MW capacities per turbine were designed in Norway. In Denmark, 209 MW Horns Rev 2 offshore wind farm was inaugurated in September 2009; increasing the countries capacity through offshore wind energy. Also, in Sept 2010, a Swedish power company started operation of the 300 MW world’s biggest offshore wind park currently in operation in Britain.

Offshore Wind energy still faces challenge in R&D funding, design challenges and market competitiveness, but the good news is that offshore wind turbine market seen nearly doubling in 2010 and expected to account for 8 % of market in 2015 according to MAKE Consulting in Denmark.