World’s First Floating Wind Turbine

FILED UNDER: Technology

Plans for the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine have been unveiled today by Norwegian energy company StatoilHydro.

The company hopes to dramatically cut the cost of building and maintaining offshore wind farms and plans to invest £40m/$80m in the pilot project.

The project will see a 2.3MW, 80m diameter wind turbine (provided by Siemens) fastened to the top of a ‘Spar-buoy’ 10km off the coast of Norway. The large buoy will be moored using three anchor points in the seabed.

Information manager for new energy at StatoilHydro, Øistein Johannessen, said that the Spar-buoy technology was already widely used in the offshore oil and gas industry and could provide a basis for wind turbines in waters with depths of up to 700m.

According to Johannessen, record oil prices have caused the demand and therefore the cost for such buoys to rise. He added that floating buoys could still be a far more cost effective way to install offshore wind turbines rather than mooring the turbines directly to the seabed.

“In the long term we hope that this will provide a means of making offshore wind energy cost competitive [with the grid],” he said.

Work is scheduled to begin on the project later this year with a start-up of the turbine planned for autumn 2009.

More: StatoilHydro

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