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Wind Energy and Maritime Energy Sources

Electricity from wind energy

There is huge potential for short  to mid-term expansion of wind energy  use. The German government's aim by 2025/2030 is to cover 15 % of total  electricity requirements in Germany from offshore  wind installations and a further  10 % from onshore wind farms.

Research and  development requirements

Developing offshore  wind energy  use currently poses  the greatest challenge. The associated research and  development activities touch on almost  all areas of wind energy  utilisation.  An increase  in R&D activities will also be necessary for the further  expansion of wind energy utilisation  on land,  especially with respect to its prospective application in developing and industrializing countries. New challenges arise when  new climates  and  topographical conditions (highly structured terrain)  are entered into.  One  of the main  goals of research and  development is further  cost reductions through fundamental innovations:

 •   Further  development of system  technology: new materials, elasticity and  noise reduction, innovative  control methods, generators and output electronics, new facility concepts
•   Investigations of wind climatology and ambient conditions: wind potential, plant siting in complex terrain,  forecasting energy yields, design  wind characteristics, wind and wave characteristics for offshore  applications
•   Optimisation of system  integration and  plant management: control and  management of wind farms, early fault recognition and  plant maintenance according to the condition, information and  communications systems, grid interaction effects, wind power  forecasts 
•   Monitoring of technological development as well as basic surveys of technical, economic, ecological  and  legal aspects, and  prospects for national and  international use of wind energy

Electricity from maritime energy sources

Maritime  energy  sources  are primarily tidal and wave energy  systems.  In addition, there  are ways of exploiting temperature differences  and the different  salt concentrations of freshwater and seawater. The German coast  has relatively little potential for maritime energy  sources.  The technology for the utilisation  of these  energy  sources  nonetheless has considerable long-term significance  for Germany in view of the possibilities of energy imports in the form of electricity and  synthetic fuels and  the export opportunities for German plant  technology.

The ebb  and  flow of the tides allows conventional water  turbines to generate electricity. At present, an installed  generating capacity  of 260 MW exists worldwide.

Wave  energy is based  on the interaction between the surface of the sea and  the wind. Currently  around 2 MW are installed  in demonstration plants  in offshore  locations. The potential for wave energy  in Europe is estimated at over 200 TWh/a,  1 % of which  is on German coasts.

Sea currents in coastal  areas are caused primarily by the tide. Where the topological conditions are right,  the water  flow speed can be fast enough for commercial energy  use. The global  technical potential is estimated at around 1500  TWh/a,  almost  10 % of which  is in Europe. Since 2003, the first test systems  with an output of 100 to 300 kW have been an operation in Italy, Great Britain, and  Norway  with the participation of German researchers and  industry. Furthermore, megawatt systems  are also being developed.

Generally speaking, technologies for maritime energy  sources  are still in their infancy.  The aim is to make the economically efficient utilisation of these  potentials a reality. To achieve  this, large installed  capacities are necessary  in all offshore  technologies.

Research activities in this field are taking  place in close cooperation with countries whose  coastal and  sea areas have a high potential for maritime energy, such as Great Britain.

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