Offshore Wind Energy

While offshore wind energy is undergoing rather rapid global growth, Canada does not have offshore wind facilities installed. However, the resource potential for this technology in Canada is significant and thus wind energy project developers are studying both Canada’s West coast and the Great Lakes for possible offshore wind farms. Offshore wind farms are more common in Europe. The turbines from the Burbo Bank wind farm, off the coast of Liverpool, England that generates 90 megawatts of electricity, enough power for approximately 80,000 homes.

Relevant Links

  • The Offshore Wind Energy website is a general source of information and knowledge to existing and new professionals working in the field of offshore wind energy.
  • The NaiKun Wind Energy Project in Hecate Strait on the west coast is the only Canadian offshore wind project. In March 2011, the project was granted an environmental screening decision under the Canada Environmental Assessment Act. Construction is dependent upon receiving an energy purchase agreement.
  • Cape Wind is the first American offshore wind project to receive approval from federal and state regulators to build an offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.

Key Advantages

Offshore wind can offer key advantages if the right locations are chosen, such as:

  • Higher wind speeds
  • Lower wind turbulence offshore reduces stresses on the turbine for a particular wind speed
  • More constant winds (higher capacity factor)

Despite these advantages, offshore wind farms are relatively new, and face higher construction and operating costs than on-shore turbines.

Learn more at the Natural Resources Canada's CanMetEnergy website.

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