Norway's Hydro Develops Floating Wind Turbines
Hydro is a Norwegian energy and aluminum company. They are developing floating wind turbines that could be used in deep-water wind farms (depths between 200 and 700 meters (656 and 2,297 feet)). "The company envisions future wind turbines with a power capacity of 5 MW and a rotor diameter of approximately 120 meters. [...] Hydro has measured wind speeds in the North Sea for more than 30 years. Based on data determining that average wind speeds at sea are higher than on land, Hywind will be exceptionally energy efficient." Bech Gjørv, Hydro’s director of new energy forms, emphasizes that the new windmill will be a supplement, not a substitute to land-based wind parks. "Hywind is very well-suited for energy poor areas where there is little accessible land, but good offshore wind conditions, for example in the US, Japan and in the vicinity of offshore installations," she says.
The future goal is to have large-scale offshore wind parks with up to 200 turbines capable of producing up to 4 terawatt hours (TWh) per year and delivering renewable electricity to both offshore and onshore activities. This goal is far in the future, but if we’re to succeed in 10-15 years, we have to start the work today. —Alexandra Bech Gjørv, Hydro’s director of new energy forms
A demonstration project is currently being planned based on wind turbines with a power generation capacity of 3 megawatt (MW). The windmills will reach 80 meters above the sea’s surface and will have a rotor diameter of about 90 meters.
Hydro has already invested approximately $3 million in the conceptual phase of the project, and it is expected that further research and the demonstration project will require about $23 million more.