Greenpeace North Sea study

If governments in the North Sea region are serious about offshore wind they must stop licensing oil and gas activities and instead help offshore industries shift to wind power. These are two of ten demands from Greenpeace in a new report, North Sea Offshore Wind -- A Powerhouse for Europe, prepared by Germany's Deutsches Windenergie Institut (DEWI) for Greenpeace.

Detailing the national offshore wind programs of Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Britain and Belgium, the report charts the North Sea's wind energy potential and characteristics. Oddly, Ireland -- which has some of the most advanced plans for offshore wind in Europe -- is not mentioned. A large section covers "marinised" wind turbines, foundations, grid integration, transmission and economics. Another focus is on environmental impact assessments, covering the gamut of possible ecological problems caused by wind farm installation, operation or decommissioning.

The report, released in conjunction with small promotional events in Belgium and Germany in November, is meant to be an ongoing tool for climate change discussions and offshore wind promotion, says Greenpeace Nordic's Tarjei Haaland. Though the bulk is written by DEWI, the Greenpeace introduction notes that "Europe has the technical potential to cover its entire demand for power with offshore wind energy alone." The environmental organisation was handing out copies at last month's COP6 climate change conference at The Hague.