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Siemens and StatoilHydro Launch 2.3MW Floating Wind Turbine

Siemens and StatoilHydro have launched a floating megawatt-class wind turbine, Hywind. (Earlier post.) The companies hope to use the research project to demonstrate that wind turbines that are not permanently anchored to the ocean floor can also make a significant contribution to the power supply.

Floatwind
The Hywind floating wind turbine. Source: Siemens. Click to enlarge.

The wind turbine is anchored in 220 meters of water roughly 12 kilometers southeast of the Norwegian island of Karmøy. Siemens provided the Hywind project with the electrical generating unit, which has a capacity of 2.3 megawatts (MW) and a rotor diameter of 82 meters. Hywind is scheduled to remain in trial operation for two years. The power it generates will be transported via undersea cable.

Hywind can be erected in water between 120 and 700 meters deep, thus expanding the operational area for offshore wind power. Current offshore units must be permanently anchored to the sear floor, and the cost of permanent foundations increases substantially at depths greater than 30 to 50 meters. As a result, countries with only very small, if any, shallow water zones off the coast are essentially prevented from erecting any wind power plants.

Calculations indicate that the wind power potential at distances up to 50 nautical miles from the US coastline is greater than the currently installed electrical generating capacity of all power plants in the US combined—more than 900 gigawatts.

StatoilHydro developed a ballast-filled steel buoy for use as the floating offshore foundation. The floating element extends as much as 100 meters below the surface of the water, from which depth it is anchored to the sea floor via three anchor cables. The partners also developed a special control system that enables the unit to offset the wave-induced motion of the floating foundation.

Comments

kelly

That's one big fan..

Henry Gibson

When a storm comes and hundreds of these unit break lose, who hunts them down. No country other than Norway has enough hydropower to match the fluctuations of windpower. Pretending that energy storage is not needed for windturbines and does not cost anything and does not produce CO2 are great falsities promoted by the wind power lobby. ..HG..

ejj

Henry the anchoring for these will be along the lines of what is used for oil platforms - they're not going to break loose in a storm. When is the last time you heard of an oil platform breaking loose in a storm? Even after Hurricane Katrina, all the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico didn't "break loose"...some where damaged but there weren't a bunch that were floating around all of a sudden. Massive turbines like this are an awesome, awesome idea...glad to see it.

Roger Pham

@Henry,
Hydrogen produced from electricity is one method of storing excess wind energy. In this way, excess energy produced in one season can be used in another season with higher demands. More transient energy storage methods such as pumped hydro, compressed-air, and batteries can also be used to for leveling electrical loads from day to day. Energy storage reduces efficiency, but, considering the alternatives, wind is still the least expensive. Nuclear energy carries a lot of liability and inherent risks, and coal is very polluting and accelerates global warming.

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