Floating wind turbines could open up vast ocean tracts for renewable power. In the stormy waters of the North Sea, 15 miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire, in Scotland, five floating offshore wind turbines stretch 574 feet (175 metres) above the water. The world’s first floating windfarm, a 30 megawatt facility run by the Norwegian company Equinor, has only been in operation since 2017 but has already broken UK records for energy output. While most offshore wind turbines are anchored to the ocean floor on fixed foundations, limiting them to depths of about 165ft, floating turbines are tethered to the seabed by mooring lines. These enormous structures are assembled on land and pulled out to sea by boats. Floating offshore wind is still in its early stages: only about 80 megawatts of a total of about 32 gigawatts (0.25%) of installed offshore wind capacity is floating. But some experts say the relatively new technology could become an important part of the renewables mix, if it can overcome hurdles including cost, design and opposition from the fishing industry.
Guardian 29th Aug 2021 read more »