The Norwegian-based energy giant, Statoil, has opened the lines on the world’s first floating wind turbine off the coast of Norway. The water-based sustainable electricity generator could become a model for future energy development if it proves as efficient as Statoil claims.
Known as Hywind, the idea of putting wind turbines out at sea could create an energy trend for the future. Alexandra Beck Gjorv of Statoil told reporters that the innovative floating wind power station: “Should help move offshore wind farms out of sight.”
Gjorv reckons Hywind could spark a movement across the sustainable power industry to relocate land-based wind farms to locations miles out at sea where they will have no impact on land use. By moving the turbines out to sea, military radar operations, fisheries, the shipping industry, tourism and even birdlife will benefit.
But the energy industry will also greatly benefit as: “The wind is stronger and more consistent [and] areas are large,” Gjorv contends. The floating turbines are connected to the mainland power grids by underwater seabed cables. The cost of these strong high-capacity cables is expensive, however, so this will limit how far offshore the turbines can be placed.
Hywind, which was built by the German firm Siemens AG, is capable of producing 2.3 megawatts of power annually. Statoil will conduct a 2-year trial period off the Norwegian coast before deciding on the large-scale commercial viability of the concept.