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Will floating be the future?

Last December, European Offshore Wind (EOW) took place in Berlin, Germany. After the first EOW organised by the Danish Wind Energy Association in 2005, the EWEA took over the organisation and turned it into a pan-European event which will be held every two years. The Berlin event was a great success, with more than 2,000 participants attending the sessions and 120 exhibitors offering a range of services and solutions in the fast-expanding offshore wind market. The next EOW will be in Stockholm, Sweden, from 14 to 16 September 2009.
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{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}Floating Wind Turbines
For several years the industry has examined the possibility of designing a floating structure for wind turbines so that wind farms can be installed in deeper water. Most offshore wind farms are installed near the shore in shallow water. If Europe wants to meet its 20% binding target for renewable energy by 2020, it must increase its use of offshore wind, and therefore possibly also wind farms installed in deep water.

In 2005 Hydro from Norway announced its Hywind project. Hywind is a research project where Hydro is investigating floating constructions, as used in the oil industry, as the base for offshore wind turbines. In June 2007 Hydro and Siemens Power Generation (PG) entered into an agreement to cooperate on technology to develop floating wind turbines based on Hydro's Hywind concept. So far no prototype has been developed.

However, Hydro is not the only company thinking along these lines. The Dutch firm Blue H Technologies BV has come up with a solution, also adapted from the oil and gas industry, that allows wind farms to be built in much deeper water, far from the coast. And the best part of their system is that it is not just a concept! By the time you read this they plan to be testing a large-scale prototype Submerged Deepwater Platform (SDP) in waters 108 metres deep at a distance of 10.6 nautical miles (19.6 kilometres) from the coast in Southern Italy. On page 7 of this issue you will find a whole article about the system.

Force Technology is a third company which has developed a floating concept, in this case called WindSea. WindSea is a floating wind turbine structure designed to be installed on deep waters as well. Force Technology intends to use three turbines of 3.2MW each on the structure. The structure will automatically position itself in the optimal wind direction. During EOW the company showed a scale model floating in a fish tank and it attracted a lot of attention.

We will keep you updated on these and other new developments, but these kind of projects promise another good year with lots of great articles to present to you in 2008.

Enjoy reading!

Floris Siteur
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