Floating Offshore Wind Turbines
Norwegian company StatoilHydro is working on a 2.3 megawatt floating wind turbine that will be attached to the top of ‘Spar-buoy’ and moored to the seabed by three anchor points. It is hoped that the 80 meter diameter, 65 meter high Siemens turbine will have lower deep-water installation costs when compared to traditional wind installations. The company plans to have the first prototype ready by fall of 2009, when they will begin feasibility tests to assess how it stands up to high winds. A 3 meter high scale model has already been tested in a wave tank simulator.
“Floating wind power is not mature technology yet, and the road to commercialization and large scale development is long. An important aspect of the project is therefore research and development,” says head of New Energy at StatoilHydro Alexandra Bech Gjørv. “If we succeed, then we will have taken a major step in moving the wind power industry offshore. Floating wind turbines can make a major contribution to providing the world with clean power, but there are major technical and commercial challenges that need to be resolved. If we are to succeed, we will need to cooperate closely with the authorities. As with other technologies for renewable energy, floating wind power will be dependent on incentive schemes to be viable,”
StatoilHydro is one of the world’s largest oil and energy companies, since the merger of the state owned Statoil with Hydro in 2007.