Wind energy is often touted as one of the major up and coming sources of renewable energy. There are however many problems wind energy faces before it can truly hope to help to replace nonrenewable juggernauts like oil and coal. Part of the issue is finding the available space within reliable wind patterns. This is further complicated by the fact that wind turbines are not particularly aesthetically pleasing or popular. A large percentage of the general public doesn’t want wind farms ruining their view of the surroundings. This has been even more of an issue when it comes to offshore wind energy development. Offshore development seems ideal; plenty of unoccupied space and a very strong reliable source of wind. However, up until recently wind turbines could only be placed offshore if it was moored permanently to the ocean floor. This limited them to water depths of roughly 15 meters or less and thus caused a problem for coastal residents and vacationers who valued unencumbered views. Thus floating turbines seem to be the answer. Prototypes have been being designed for years and in December of 2011 the first viable floating turbine was launched in the Atlantic Ocean. The turbine was towed 217 miles off the coast of Portugal. More projects are on the way and recently the UK and US have partnered to provide funds to develop these projects further.
For more information on this individual project and other floating wind projects, please see the links below:
Written by Savannah Miller, Business Development Intern, Spring 2012