SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 22, March 2017 - Page 104

controlled. It’s really just a fancy system of counterweights. These control systems add complexity and cost, but they are needed, unless you think sinking offshore wind has a bright future ahead of it.

The future for floating offshore wind looks bright. Hywind is set to begin construction on the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in the UK later this year. It will be a 30 MW farm located in water depths of approximately 110 meters. Predictably, the estimated cost for the farm (on a per MW basis) has dropped nearly 70% from their pilot project that was installed in 2009.

Principle Power is also staying busy. They have projects to develop 24 MW wind farms in Portugal and France, and a smaller demonstration project in Japan. Most impressive is a massive 765 MW wind farm planned for the coast of California in 2022. Organized by Trident Winds, this project will be using the Hywind and WindFloat designs.

Floating offshore wind allows developers to take advantage of winds in areas that were once off limits due to water depth. Although currently more expensive than traditional offshore wind, with a little innovation this cost difference will narrow. Don’t be surprised to see more of these projects in our offshore waters in the very near future.

WindFloat stability methods. Source: American Society of Mechanical Engineers

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Hywind spar design. Source: Statoil

The Hywind Demo project

March 2017 - Technology