Mike Chino

OMA Plans Massive North Sea Wind Farm to Power Europe

by , 01/15/09

This week Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture announced plans for an incredible array of oceanic wind farms that may one day produce as much energy as the Persian Gulf. Dubbed Zeekracht (sea power), the masterplan comprises a massive ring of wind farms centered around the Netherlands that spans seven adjacent countries. By calling for such a large network of communal infrastructure and knowledge, the plan takes a giant step towards ensuring European energy independency by 2025.


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Thanks to its high and constant wind speeds, shallow waters, and cutting-edge renewable industries, the North Sea is one of the world’s most suitable areas for large scale wind farming. OMA states that “The potential magnitude of renewable energy in the North Sea in fact, approaches that of fossil fuel production in the Persian Gulf states today.”

The firm’s Zeekracht masterplan calls for a massive communal wind power infrastructure focused in an “Energy Super-Ring” around the Netherlands. The plan’s components include a Production Belt, which covers clean tech research and manufacturing, and an International Research Center that promotes cooperation, innovation, and development. Since large scale fishing is impossible in the vicinity of a windmill field, the areas will also be effectively converted into nature reserves that shelter fish and other sealife.

OMA states: “With its history, its ingenuity, its collective spirit, and its optimal geography, the Netherlands is poised to play a leading role in the development of the North Sea. Through policy and action, it could demonstrate the potential of individuals and nations to build towards a highly productive, cooperative and sustainable future – on land and sea.”

+ Zeekracht

+ OMA

Via Dutchdfa

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9 Comments

  1. Half of New Energy Prod... July 15, 2010 at 11:51 am

    [...] there was still record levels of investment in wind power — especially in China and in the North Sea. Despite the positive increase in investment, the report did warn that there is still a lot way to [...]

  2. Scottar February 15, 2009 at 2:40 am

    CharlieO pointed to the problem of capital intensive. The other problem of wind is that, although Denmark already has 20% usable capacity, the usable amount yielded is only 6~7% of the actual amount produced by the Danes. The rest has to be exported in off peak times, while during peak time the power must be imported from the mainland grid. A dubious ROI. The other fact of windfarms is that their lifespan is about 20 years before the structures must be rebuilt or overhauled. No structure last forever. The other problem is that windfarms require substantial raw materials for their construction and grid connections.

    So the attractiveness of wind is illusionary as you think of wind as free energy, but harvesting it, is not. There is not yet an effective way of harnessing the wind without substantial expense to consumer or taxpayer. It’s like free money or health care from the government, somewhere along the line someone pays one way or another.

    The final thing I will point out is that this being a so called carbon neutral solution is laughable when you consider the carbon footprints of the structure . Then there’s the increasing doubt that CO2 is causing undue forcing to global warming. Indeed several scientific studies show that CO2 forcing has an upper limit of 325ppm. It’s 385ppm now and the seas are not flooding as projected by the IPCC nor Al Gore Inconvenient hysteria movie. It’s political and corporate smoke and mirrors scam to fleece the public of more money. As Mark Twain once said- Lies, damn lies and contrived statistics. The world has not changed much since then.

  3. AngerOfTheNorth January 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Think – we’ve had electrical cables, as well as communications cables, running across the English channel, as well as the Atlantic, Pacific, etc for decades.

    As for the proposal, I’ve no idea how viable it really would be. I doubt OMA does either, this may well largely be a theoretical piece. However there will almost certainly be a number of huge offshore wind farms in the North Sea in the next decade or so, so linking them up to allow a flow of power towards the countries that most need it at any one time does seem a good idea, if it is workable.

  4. Think January 18, 2009 at 3:06 am

    This is insane. Water and electricity should not be near each other. Has anyone thought of the corrosion and maintenance costs. I for one would never put my money in a crazy project like this with testing it first for at least a decade.

  5. CharlieO CharlieO January 16, 2009 at 11:55 am

    On the face of it this seemse like a fantastic idea. To succeed it will need massive EU subsidisation and probably the skills and experience of those who’ve been involved in offshore drilling to get anywhere close to the envisioned scale within the next 20-30 years.

    Offshore wind accounts for a meagre 1.1GW of installed capacity globally with Denmark and the UK leading the way. Projects like The London Array underway in the Thames estuary are starting to set a precedent, despite the withdrawal of Shell and subsequent funding by Abu-Dhabi based Masdar, wind energy is capital intensive, but the financial advantage of a fuel whose costs is fixed at zero is finally persuading governments that this can guarantee energy security, economic predictability alongside providing Europe with a world-leading clean technology for energy production for generations to come.

  6. davidwayneosedach January 16, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I am glad that Europe is going all out in the search for sustainable energy. Russia is unpredictable and who knows if/when $150/bbl. crude will make a come back.

  7. deborah deborah January 16, 2009 at 6:15 am

    looks absolutely fantastic, great for enviroment, has architectural interest, help the small fisherman (and the fish!) and help make us fuel independent as europeans.

    deborah haynes

  8. amangupta January 16, 2009 at 4:17 am

    VERY FASCINATING TO LOOK AT SUCH A USE OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY……..

  9. lifesmymachine January 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    This seems like a brilliant idea! My only question is about storms… How are these windmills built to resist storm damage (heavy rains and winds?). I don’t know much about the climate in the Netherlands, but I assume that if it is windy to have an efficient solar farm it would be subject to occasional violent ocean storms as well.

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