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UK and US to work together to develop floating wind turbines

Developing floating wind turbines is to be the initial focus of a new agreement between Britain and the United States, it will be announced this week. 

Energy secretary Ed Davey and his US counterpart Steven Chu will announce the collaboration at a gathering of energy ministers in Lonodn this week. The collaboration will see best practice from planned demonstration projects both sides of the Atlantic shared between the two nations.

In the UK, the Energy Technologies Institute is currently in the process of commissioning a £25M offshore wind floating system demonstrator. Participants chosen to take part in the project will be tasked with the objective of producing by 2016 an offshore wind turbine that can produce 5MW to 7MW of power. Selection of the organisation to deliver the project is ongoing and an announcement on who will be carrying out the project on behalf of the ETI is expected early next year.

In the US, the Department of Energy have recently announced a $180M (£112M) funding opportunity for up to four Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects in US waters – which potentially could include a floating wind demonstration.

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

“Turbines will be able to be located in ever deeper waters where the wind is stronger but without the expense of foundations down to the seabed or having to undertake major repairs out at sea.

“The UK and US are both making funding available for this technology and we’re determined to work together to capitalise on this shared intent.”



Readers' comments (1)

  • This is good to see. As a country we should, however, be supporting more radical proposals by Professor Garvey of Nottingham University who is working on an eight blade 200 m + diameter floating wind turbine. Each blade incorporates a cylinder in which air is compressed as the blades rotate. This compressed air can be stored in underwater bags or in below ground cavities. The compressed air can then be used to drive turbines as and when there is a demand for electricity. This gets over the major problem with present day wind turbines of supply not marrying up with demand. Professor Garvey predicts that cost of producing electricity would be comparable to that from coal and gas fired power stations i.e. less than a third of that from wind turbines today.

    John Sammons MICE

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