The world’s first floating full-scale offshore wind turbine has been put into operation in the North Sea off the coast of Norway.
Norwegian energy company StatoilHydro said the Hywind turbine is 213 feet tall and weighs 5,300 tons. It is situated seven miles off the island of Karmoey, near the country’s south-western coastline. The turbine sits on a floating stand and is anchored to the seabed by three cables. Water and rocks are used as ballast.
Hywind will be tested for two years before StatoilHydro begins to install floating turbines internationally, however Japan, California in the United States, South Korea and Spain could be markets for the technology. Hywind has the advantage of being buoyant, so can be placed further offshore than current static turbines.
“The floating turbine has great advantages. It is not so easily seen from the coast, it can be placed in areas not used by others,” said StatoilHydro’s Anne Stroemmen Lycke.
The 2.3-megawatt floating turbine required around £40 million ($66 million/$45 million) of investment, meaning it is a much more expensive option than the fixed turbine. However, Ms Stroemmen Lycke said the plan is to lower the price to be comparable with a fixed wind turbine.