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Clean Power floating wind turbine

Published on October 20th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan

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New Floating Wind Turbines to Make Wind Energy Cheaper, More Reliable?



Floating wind turbines are a little more complicated and require higher initial costs. But a new study, Project Deepwater, by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) in the UK has found that due to their greater ability to access stronger and more consistent winds deeper out at sea, they are more economically efficient in the long term.

“The traditional view is that the cost of offshore wind becomes increasingly expensive as turbines are located in deeper water, due to the additional costs of supporting traditional turbine structures,” said ETI chief executive Dr David Clarke.

“The cost of foundations does get more expensive as you go into deeper water, but the wind speeds in much of the UK’s deep water are significantly stronger and more consistent, which results in a more reliable and higher energy output. Over time, this more than outweighs the additional foundation costs and gives an overall lower cost of energy.”

So, the end conclusion of this feasibility study was very simply that floating wind turbines are both technically and economically feasible.

Two more floating wind turbine feasibility studies are currently being conducted. One, the Nova Project, is looking at the potential to use innovative offshore vertical axis wind turbines. The other, the Helm Wind Project, is looking into the viability of making changes to the basic design of offshore wind farms.

Once these feasibility studies are completed, ETI may look into funding demonstration projects.

Offshore wind energy looks like it might get a big boost from these UK studies. Hopefully, it won’t be long before decision-makers drop offshore oil drilling and just focus their offshore efforts on clean wind energy.

Photo Credit: qayaq via flickr under a CC license

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • http://www.inergyuk.com Rob

    I’ve read quite a few of your posts lately Zachary and I have to admit that reading Clean Technica is a lot more inspiring than watching the national UK news bulletins.

    Our current coalition government is formed from two political parties, both of whom campaigned strongly on green issues. Yet in the last 10 days we have had the news that the government has axed plans for a hydro electric barrage across the Severn estuary, followed by a news article a few days later about renewed investment in off-shore North sea drilling for natural gas. Now I don’t know how environmentally friendly natural gas is but it strikes me as being yet another finite resource, and as such, a short term band aid for a terminal illness.

    Unfortunately short-termism still rules and governments are wary of investing in long-term solutions. Climate change was big news over here a few months ago but since the government started talking about reducing our national debt it seems as though the majority of people have forgotten that we even have an environment to consider. People are now so worried about losing their jobs or not having enough money to survive that environmental considerations are taking a back seat.

    So from now on I shall spend more time on here and less time tuning in to the TV news. Keep up the good work :-)

    • http://www.zacharyshahan.com Zachary Shahan

      @Rob: Thank you for the excellent comments.. I totally understand. I have been following UK political and energy news a bit myself. It still seems light years ahead of the US, though :D

      It is fun writing on Cleantechnica because while we do address the problems, we also make sure to spend a lot of time on the bright and inspiring news. There are a lot of cool things going on (even if they are still far less than we need).

      Happy to have a new regular reader on Cleantechnica and happy to hear from another concerned and thoughtful citizen of the world.

      Comment whenever you feel the impulse :D

  • Alex

    what about hurricanes or super strong winds? not to say the UK gets hurricanes but i’m just wondering what happens to turbins subjected to winds in excess of, oh say, 75mph…or even 50mph.

  • Josh

    Funding for deepwater offshore wind turbines already exist.

    US Department of Energy/National Science Foundation sponsored. University of Maine-led.

    Check out http://www.deepcwind.org

  • David

    This maybe a good way to recycle decomissioned ships.

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