The advent of floating wind turbines has meant that wind farms can be placed in areas where the depth of the sea floor is no longer such an issue.
And now, the world's first floating wind farm has started to generate energy for the first time, after being towed into place of the Scottish coastline in August this year.
The turbines, which are tethered to the sea bed 15 miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire, were officially opened by Nicola Sturgeon and hailed as the next generation of the technology. Speaking on the benefits of the renewable energy, and the contribution to the local economy, she commented: “This pilot project underlines the potential of Scotland's huge offshore wind resource and positions Scotland at the forefront of the global race to develop the next generation of offshore wind technologies.”
The sea floor at this location is 129m below the surface, while traditional fixed turbines have a limit of 50m. Of course, not only is the distance from the coastline a benefit in terms of overcoming aesthetic issues raised in the planning stage, it is also estimated that 80 per cent of potential sites for wind farms are in waters over 60m deep.
The turbines are over 175m tall above sea level, extending another 78m below the surface, and then chained in place. Hywind, which produces the turbines, says that it may be possible for them to operate in depths up to 800m.
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