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Oil Company To Build Europe’s Largest Floating Wind Farm

Floating wind turbine

These days we usually hear about oil companies wanting to explore and drill for more “unconventional” oil resources deep offshore, so it’s good news that a Norwegian oil and gas company, Statoil, has been given approval by the UK’s Crown Estate to develop 5 floating wind turbines off the coast of Scotland.

The new offshore wind farm will produce 30 megawatts of electricity. It will be above about 100 meters of seawater, 8-12 miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire. These will not be the first offshore wind turbines in Europe by any means; there are already quite a lot. In fact, last month the UK generated 5% of its energy from offshore wind farms.

However, traditional offshore wind turbines are usually only located in water up to 60 meters deep. The pylons of conventional wind turbines have to be inserted into the seafloor, so any deeper would be considerably more difficult and expensive. However, floating wind turbines are secured by just a few cables to keep them from floating away, and can be installed in much, much deeper water – up to 700 meters.

It’s good to see one oil and gas company attempting to change at least some of its fossil fuel extracting ways. Last week, United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres urged fossil fuel company executives to do just that by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and developing more renewable energy. It’s something that will benefit everyone, and according to the latest IPCC report on climate change, it’s something that has to happen sooner rather than later.

Image: Wikimedia Commons. The world’s second full-scale floating wind turbine (and first to be installed without the use of heavy-lift vessels), WindFloat, operating at rated capacity (2MW) approximately 5km offshore of Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal.
Via Think Progress, Herald Scotland


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