Monopiles – gigantic pipes for offshore wind farms

The energy sector is the biggest global market for manufacturers of steel pipes, with the main focus on two non-renewable resources: oil and gas. Yet pipes are equally indispensable for renewable energies. One particularly visible application is that of wind power in the form of wind turbine towers, built mostly in steel or concrete. What tends to be less conspicuous at an offshore wind farm is the facilities that can be found below the water level, where steel pipes or steel pipe structures are mainly used as foundations for the power generators that are visible high above the water.

After 2014, which had already been a record year in the German wind power sector, 2015 was yet another year with record figures. In 2014, 141 new turbines had been built, and offshore output had already doubled compared with 2013. But in 2015 the overall total increased further even further. In all, 546 offshore wind turbines were connected to the German grid, with a total output of 2,282.4 megawatts (MW). According to Deutsche WindGuard in its “Offshore Wind Power Expansion Status in Germany”, 792 offshore wind turbines were contributing power to the German grid at the end of December 2015, totalling 3,294.9 MW (2014:1,012.5 MW).

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