I’m reading up on this, as offshore wind sounds nifty. As usual with anything “renewable” (though turbines & cables certainly aren’t) the rule seems to be we only talk about facts which support our side of the argument – whatever the argument was. At any rate, you usually have to search long and hard to find any drawbacks of offshore wind energy, as a renewable alternative, so I was happy to find something, at least, from the Operating Costs section of the wiki on offshore wind:
Maintenance of offshore wind farms is much more expensive than for onshore installations. For example, a single technician in a pickup truck can quickly, easily and safely access turbines on land in almost any weather conditions, exit his or her vehicle and simply walk over to and into the turbine tower to gain access to the entire unit within minutes of arriving onsite. Similar access to offshore turbines involves driving to a dock or pier, loading necessary tools and supplies into boat, a voyage to the wind turbine(s), securing the boat to the turbine structure, transferring tools and supplies to and from boat to turbine and turbine to boat and performing the rest of the steps in reverse order. In addition to standard safety gear such as a hardhat, gloves and safety glasses, an offshore turbine technician may be required to wear a life vest, waterproof or water-resistant clothing and perhaps even a survival suit if working, sea and atmospheric conditions make rapid rescue in case of a fall into the water unlikely or impossible. Typically at least two technicians skilled and trained in operating and handling large power boats at sea are required for tasks that one technician with a driver’s license can perform on land in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost.
The inevitable result of posting anything realistic about renewables – anything “negative”: the poster (me) is absurdly attacked as a pawn of the fossil fuel industry for doubting any aspect of the green technology wonderland spread before us. I have personally helped kicked Chevron the hell out of politics in my fair town of Richmond, so that dog won’t hunt with me.
Sincere advocates of wind power might want to weigh the pros and cons of different applications, to determine where scarce resources are best used. But that kind of ordinary engineering rigor isn’t the fashion anymore.