Typically, the approval of planning permission for a two-turbine wind farm isn't considered news—especially compared to 1+ gigawatt projects being built elsewhere. But Business Green reporting on the approval of planning permission for the Dounreay Trì Floating Wind Demonstration Project, located six km off the Caithness coastline, is different:
It's the third example of approval for a floating turbine wind farm which, if successful, could massively increase the areas of ocean considered suitable for offshore development.
As I mentioned in my story earlier this month on the 50MW Kincardine floating wind farm, the deployment of turbines which are not tethered to the ocean floor with fixed foundations would increase the viable depth at which turbines can be situated, and could also reduce maintenance costs from vibration-related wear and tear.
Taken in conjunction with the two previously approved projects, there are now 92MW worth of floating offshore wind development in the pipeline. Given the fact that developers are actively bidding for offshore wind leases in the US right now, these floating turbine projects could not come at a better time for eventual US deployment too.
Whatever the short-term political winds may bring, I fully expect to see offshore wind—and potentially floating wind—become a major player in energy systems across the world in the not too distant future.