World’s first
floating wind
turbine
 
The world’s first floating wind turbine was set up just off the coast of Norway earlier this month, Norwegian energy company StatoilHydro reported.

The Hywind turbine, which measures 65 meters tall, and weighs 5 300 tonnes, has been placed 10 kilometers off the island of Karmoey in the North Sea and rests on a floating platform which is tethered to the ocean floor by means of three cables.

The turbine,  a test project for the next two years, can be used in waters up to 700 meters deep, allowing generators to take advantage of higher wind rates away from shore, and can be placed in areas not used for other purposes.

Says StatoilHydro’s Anne Stroemmen Lycke, "We could use such wind turbines in countries where coastal waters are very deep or where there is little space left for land-based turbines."

The pilot cost in the region of $66 million dollars for a 2.3MW floating turbine, making it much more expensive than conventional wind generation.  According to Stroemmen Lycke, the plan is the bring the costs down to the same level as fixed wind turbines.