Offshore wind energy farms are springing up in more countries every day. Earlier this year, Japanese utility, Tohoku Electric Power invested in a 700MW offshore wind Power farm led by Renova. This is among the biggest offshore wind projects planned in Japanese waters. Renova is leading the development of the project off Yurihonjo City on Japan’s west coast, which it hopes to bring into service from 2024. Currently, European countries are still topping the list with the largest operational offshore wind farms found in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium. Just Yesterday, Microsoft announced a 90MW offshore wind energy agreement in the Netherlands.
Offshore wind farms are significantly more expensive than onshore farms because of the engineering complexity, labour and logistics of shipping components into the sea during installation but they have been found to be much more efficient due to stronger and faster winds in the sea. This has led to a wave of investments in offshore farms. According to a research report by technavio, global offshore wind power market size will grow by over USD 17 billion during 2019-2023, at a CAGR close to 18%. This makes wind energy the fastest growing renewable source of energy in the world today with over 600GW of installed capacity. Despite the technical and logistic complexity involved in designing offshore wind farms, their costs are falling.
Prospects for Nigeria:
Independent studies carried out so far by researchers indicate strong potential for wind energy in the country especially in the hilly regions of the middle belt and the far north and some coastal cities in the south. While wind speeds in the southern region are generally weak, the offshore areas are a different story with strong economic viability.
One of the factors limiting the development of wind energy in Nigeria is a lack of policy and regulatory framework governing the development of wind energy in the country. This can as well lead to other factors like inadequate funding for research and development in universities.