The new study will try to determine if a popular wave energy test site off the coast of Cornwall (or, to be more specific, Hayle) is a good location for a floating wind farm demonstration project. The feasibility study is being conducted by the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The research hub where the testing will occur is the world’s largest wave energy test site (Wave Hub) — it was completed in 2010.
“We have a particular advantage in that the offshore grid infrastructure and onshore substation are already in place, and we also have a team that has experience of managing the design, consent and installation of offshore energy projects,” Wave Hub general manager, Claire Gibson, said.
“We clearly need to consult with a wide range of groups and other sea users about this opportunity and this forms an important part of the study.”
If the study leads to a go-ahead for the project, ETI and Wave Hub will start by installing one floating wind turbine and then evaluating its performance.
“The concept for the floating platforms is to be able to access near-to-shore, high wind speed sites off the west coast of the UK, which would bring down the cost of generating electricity, so the Wave Hub site offers some interesting possibilities,” Dr. David Clarke, ETI’s chief executive, said.
Floating Wind Turbines — A Nascent Technology
Floating wind farms, from Fukushima to Malta to Portugal, are in the news more and more these days, but they’re still a relatively young technology and much needs to be done to better understand how to make them more efficient, more cost-effective, and more competitive with onshore or non-floating offshore wind farms. I know we’ve got at least one reader who is highly critical of current designs. We’ll see where this project leads and keep you updated as the news rolls in.