Offshore Wind Potential

How many full-load hours can offshore wind reach assuming a huge expansion in the German North Sea until 2050?

  • Project Duration: 12/2018 - 12/2019

The transformation of the energy system depends on electricity generation from wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. For 2050, climate target scenarios for Germany with a reduction in greenhouse gases of 95 per cent relative to 1990 show installed offshore wind capacity ranging between 50 and 70 gigawatts. Additional demand may be created by dedicating offshore farms to electrolysis for renewable hydrogen production. The slowing of onshore wind development could further enhance the importance of offshore wind in achieving climate targets. Given the high number of full-load hours that it promises to deliver, offshore wind basically represents a very attractive option for renewable electricity generation.

It is unclear, however, to which extent more and more offshore wind farms located in the limited area of the German section of the North Sea could affect the regional winds and reduce the effectively achievable number of full-load hours.

This project goes beyond the modeling typically performed by wind farm planners and investors to better understand the regional wind dynamics arising from a great many wind turbines. For this purpose, it contrasts the results from two modelling approaches – one model being simple and fast, the other one being highly detailed and requiring a computer cluster to perform the simulations.  

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