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Old 06-30-2016, 10:03 AM   #1
A.T. Hagan
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Default Wind Fuels the North Sea’s Next Energy Boom

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6..._m edium=post

As oil declines, huge wind farms are providing electricity to Northern Europe.

For many years the capital of the United Kingdom’s offshore oil and gas industry, Aberdeen, Scotland, is in the midst of an energy transition that is transforming the North Sea from a fossil-fuel basin into the world’s center of offshore wind power.

With oil prices down to around $50 a barrel, as many as 50 North Sea oil and gas fields could be shut down this year, according to industry consultant Wood Mackenzie. Even if crude rebounds to $85 a barrel, oil companies are likely to abandon 140 North Sea fields over the next five years, the company says.

That contrasts sharply with the building boom in offshore wind turbines. Europe added a record three gigawatts of new offshore wind capacity in 2015, most of that in the North Sea. About 3,000 offshore turbines, totaling about 10 gigawatts of installed capacity, are operating there already. Annual additions are expected to average four gigawatts through 2030, bringing wind power to more than 60 gigawatts of capacity. In terms of output, offshore wind power accounts for about 1.5 percent of Europe’s total electricity generation today. That figure will rise to 7 percent by 2030, according to WindEurope, a Brussels-based industry association.

Offshore turbines are beloved by many politicians, but whether they
can provide clean, economical energy is doubtful.

The rest at MIT Technology Review
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