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Alternative Energy - Windfarms: The Advantages of Floating Wind Farms - Beth Day Romulo

Floating Offshore Windmill
Clean energy engineers in the United States have been working on a project to make offshore wind farms financially and environmentally viable. At the moment, all offshore wind turbines require a fixed platform, which is built into the seafloor. But floating turbines with anchors would offer more flexibility as to where wind farms could be placed. Dr. Habib Dagher, the executive director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, is testing an experiment, which simulates conditions that full-scale floating wind turbines might face off the Maine coast, at an installation near Monhegan Island, in 360 feet of water. For 18 months in 2013 and 2014, a small operating version of the wind farm sat in water off Castine, Maine, sending electricity to the grid. This experiment proved that the technology worked. Now, Dr. Dagher’s team is using the data collected to confirm the final forms of the wind farm.

Conventional offshore wind development, which has its foundation deep beneath the ocean floor, are popular in Europe, but energy companies in the United States are just starting to use offshore turbines. Statoil, a Norwegian oil and gas company, is already developing the first commercial scale floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland.

In the US the Obama administration recently released an updated offshore wind plan, which identifies the floating structures as important in fighting climate change. More than half of the US offshore wind capacity is in deep water. Since floating wind farms are more expensive to build than land-based ones, cost has been obstacle to development.

Dr. Dagher said that if all went well, his team could have two full scale turbines pumping electricity into the Maine grind by 2019, and larger commercial farms starting construction in the Gulf of Maine by the mid 2020s.

Read more:nThe Advantages of Floating Wind Farms » Manila Bulletin Newsbit

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