[caption id="attachment_15175" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="British Energy Secretary Ed Davey (l) with Anders Eldrup, CEO of Danish wind and power provider Dong Energy, in February. Dong is a partner in the 367-megawatt Walney Wind Farm off northwest England - the world's largest operating offshore wind farm."] Siemens wind turbines in the North Sea off Denmark, fixed to the seabed. Siemens is among the companies developing 'floating' turbines.
By Mark Halper
Posting in Aerospace
Energy Secretary Chu and his British counterpart will announce collaboration on offshore wind farms that stand free of the seabed, cutting costs and allowing operations further out at sea.
US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and his UK counterpart Edward Davey are set to announce that the two countries will jointly develop offshore wind turbines that don't require anchoring to the seabed. "Floating" turbines potentially cut maintenance and installation costs and allow operations further out at sea.
The agreement is the "initial focus" of a broader memorandum of understanding that the U.S. and UK will sign this week to collaborate in energy development, according to a press release from the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
"The UK and US will agree to collaborate in the development of floating wind technology designed to generate power in deep waters currently off limits to conventional turbines but where the wind is much stronger," DECC said.
The UK has more offshore wind capacity than any other country. Davey, who heads DECC, said that he expects floating turbines to play a big role in Britain's carbon-reduced future.
Apr 22, 2012
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Just look at what's happening with India and South Africa at the moment: http://www.renewable-energy-technology.net/wind/south-africa-selects-indian-turbine-firm-develop-138-mw-wind-project
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Hates Idiots nailed it on the head with his comment on this article. It sure would seem cheaper and more efficient than underwater cables running to the grid. Hopefully the water to hydrogen idea and transporting it closer to shore for distribution will be looked at. http://solarpowerenergy1.com/blog/
Offshore wind farms, like their oil platform cousins, have a major logistics problem. Building and maintaining underwater cables from each tower to a grid that then has to get the power back to shore is costly to maintain. While technically possible from deep water, there is substantial power loss while accomplishing that feat. Would it be more efficient and cost effective in deep water situations to have each wind turbine platform a free standing unit that converts water to hydrogen? The units could be modular, wind turbine, converter, barge terminal, storage unit, etc which would simplify maintenance. To minimize down time a modular section could be replaced with a spare while undergoing repairs. Better yet, modules could be rotated in and out for routine maintenance rather than taking an entire unit off line. Modular barges could dock with the platform to haul the hydrogen to a terminal closer to shore. Designed properly the barges would be an integral part of the platform. The combined storage of the platform and the barge could be in excess of 1 months production to allow the unit to operate through storms. They could then move the cargo to an offshore terminal when water conditions were safer. The central terminal could pump the hydrogen to shore and/or use it to run generators and the power could be sent to shore on a shorter set of cables. A key benefit that this layout would offer would be a more reliable power source. The hydrogen could be stockpiled for periods of low wind or peak power usage. It also sets up nicely to support hydrogen powered vehicles as an alternative to gasoline. Even the barges could be hydrogen powered.
We have an AC feed from the mainland of British Columbia to Vancouver Island. Before leaving the mainland it is converted to high voltage DC and then reconverted back to AC on arrival on Vancouver Island. The losses associated with capacitance and inductance coupling into the sea water is averted and the use of high voltage to transport the power means less losses due to resistance. I'm sure that similar methodologies could be incorporated into offshore wind power installations. Where there is a will and a need there is a way.