Wind turbines are a renewable energy source receiving a lot of attention these days, and the locations of the massive wind farms that stretch for miles are becoming more and more remote. Wind energy developers are literally chasing the wind to find the optimal locations for maximum wind exposure, and at times these locations may not be the most practical for turbine construction. Take the deep sea for example. While offshore wind farms
—like the U.K.’s Thanet wind farm—have certainly captured the energy of the sea breeze, it is the deep sea, where turbine towers cannot reach the bottom of the ocean floor, where you find the highest velocity and most consistent wind.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and the need to access the winds of the high seas has led to an innovative joint venture
and WindPlus. Vestas—a global leader in wind turbine technology—is pursuing floating wind turbines to be deployed in deep waters. WindPlus is a joint venture group including partners EDP Group and Principle Power, and will deliver, install and commission the Vestas turbines.
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Principle Power is the company that has designed the WindFloat system to be used by Vestas and WindPlus. The unique design is intended to reduce wave and turbine-induced motion. This allows for the turbine to be placed floating in waters greater than 164 feet (50 meters) deep.
Currently there is only one operating floating wind farm in the world. The Hywind farm in the North Sea near Norway was commissioned by oil and gas company, Statoil, in 2009. However, Vestas and WindPlus are hoping to make the floating wind turbine more commonplace than rarity. The Vestas floating wind turbine is set to be revealed sometime in 2011.