New barges designed to suit needs of wind power industry

The renewable energy sector has seen dramatic growth in the past decade, particularly wind power, but one of the primary limiting factors has been the time and expense of installing these systems.

Bloomberg reports the offshore wind power sector could see a solution to this problem with the introduction of new barges designed specifically to meet the specific needs of the industry.

Traditionally offshore wind farms have relied on modified barges that were initially designed to explore for oil, even at companies like A2Sea, a joint venture between Siemens and Dong Energy, which is building the largest approved offshore wind farm near London.

However, as demand for renewable energy has surged, Dong has begun constructing ships specifically designed with wind farm construction in mind, including features like movable legs to plant on the ocean floor, greater capacity and improved ability to cope with sea swells.

"Having these vessels is the difference between being able to build the projects that we're all looking at today and not," Paul Coffey, chief operating officer of RWE's Innogy unit, told Bloomberg.

This development could prove particularly important in Europe, where wind power is expected to employ 520,000 people by 2020, according to the European Wind Energy Association.

Read about other factors hampering the offshore wind industry  at PennEnergy's Research area.

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