UK and US to develop floating wind turbines

Before this week’s clean energy meeting in London, the government announced it would collaborate with the US on wind technology to generate power in deep waters that are off-limits to conventional turbines.

In order to exploit the UK’s huge wind resource, which accounts for about a third of Europe’s offshore wind potential, new technology is needed to access waters between 60 and 100 metres deep: too deep for turbines fixed to the seabed, but where wind speeds are consistently higher.

It is hoped that developing the technology will increase the UK’s potential for offshore wind power, particularly post-2020 when shallower sites have been developed.

The government believes it could reduce the currently high costs of offshore wind, cutting the expense of seabed foundations and allowing repairs on floating wind platforms to be carried out in port rather than out at sea.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Offshore wind is critical for the UK’s energy future and there is big interest around the world in what we’re doing. “Floating wind turbines will allow us to exploit more of the our wind resource, potentially more cheaply.”