Wind Farms on the move
Updated: Sep 9
Increasingly with matters relating to green energy, it is the speed at which the parameters shift which is eye-catching. We have grown accustomed to the sight of wind turbines and wind farms both on and off-shore as they generate more and more clean energy. In addition, the cost of this energy source has continued to drop and, now, one of the constrictions of wind energy is being overcome.
Generating energy from the higher wind speeds encountered in mid-ocean or far from coastlines has always been a target for renewable energy producers. A target thwarted by the necessity of building the turbine tower on the sea-floor (fixed-bottom turbines) which limits their location to waters of up to 50 metres depth.
Recently, the Norwegian energy company, Equinor, announced details of the Hywind Tampen scheme. Destined to be the world’s biggest wind farm using floating turbines, it will be located in the North Sea 140km (87 miles) off the Norwegian coast with the turbines kept upright by a floating cylindrical buoy. The wind farm will be a world pioneer by providing renewable energy to Equinor’s oil and gas platforms located nearby.
This project also expects to see significant cuts in the cost of generating green energy to the extent of making it competitive with energy from the fixed-bottom turbines. Currently, fixed-bottom turbines deliver electricity at prices of about £40 MWh (megawatt hour) whereas the floating wind cost is in the region of £120 MWh. Ideol, French developers of floating foundations, predict the costs can be equalised by 2030.
These exciting developments will look to governments and the private sector for funding. Since plans for comparable and even substantially larger floating wind farms are progressing in Japan, France, South Korea and other regions around the globe, the green energy industry is well-placed to lead the world into a post-Covid recovery.