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Wind Turbines (Offshore)

An athlete swims past the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Norfolk, England. The wind farm consists of 88 Siemens 3.6 megawatt turbines placed over a 35-square kilometer area, 11 miles from shore.

Wind energy is at the crest of initiatives to address global warming in the coming three decades. Investment in offshore wind was $29.9 billion in 2016, 40 percent greater than the prior year.

32 turbines—each double the height of the Statue of Liberty—have been installed off the coast of Liverpool, England. Owned by Lego, the toy maker, this is an international effort: The blades are made on the Isle of Wight by a Japanese company for its Danish client, Vestas. Each turbine generates 8 megawatts of electricity; together, they will supply all 466,000 inhabitants of Liverpool.

The wind industry is marked by a proliferation of turbines, dropping costs, and heightened performance. In many locales, wind is either competitive with or less expensive than coal-generated electricity—and it has no fuel costs and no pollution. Yet, not-in-my-backyard sentiment remains an obstacle in many places.

The variable nature of wind means there are times when turbines are not turning. Wind energy, like other sources of energy, is part of a system. Investment in 24-7 renewables such as geothermal, energy storage, transmission infrastructure, and distributed generation is essential to its growth.

Technical summaries for each solution will be available May 1, 2017.

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