Renewable energy has been making headlines in the past few years or so. There have been countries breaking records and more options available to the public. Now Scotland is planning on breaking a new world record by building the world’s largest floating wind farm.
Construction on this wind farm is planned on starting sometime this year. It will be located around the West coast of Scotland, 15 miles or 25 kilometers east of Peterhead. This was all settled after permission was granted by the Crown Estate which is in charge of the leasing of seabed’s located in that region. This will be operated by Statoil which is a Norwegian energy company, and should have a 30 megawatts capacity. It will be known as the Hywind Scotland Pilot Park wind farm. Statoil is already in charge of a floating turbine which has been in operation since back in 2009, off of the coast of Norway. There will be a total of five floating turbines, making it the first time that so many will be located in one area. Each floating turbine will put out 6 megawatts of electricity, and all of them working together will be able to power around 20,000 homes by the end of next year, 2017.
There are actually advantages to having these turbines in the sea rather than on regular land. If they are located in the water, we are able to place them much deeper into the ground than the ones we currently have on land. The normal wind farms can only be inserted in the ground 130 feet or 40 meter. If you attempt to go deeper than this, it becomes extremely expensive. So it is a much cheaper alternative to tie up the turbines located on steel tubes filled with ballast to the ocean floor, which can go as deep as 330 feet or 100 meters which gives us much more room for more turbines to be set.
Another positive aspect of this is that the wind speeds will be higher the farther off from shore they go. The higher wind speeds mean that more energy will be gathered. More than 40 projects are being worked on to build these floating farms, caused by a decrease in gas and oil prices and the fact that permission is given easier for these projects because they will not have such a large impact on the landscape.
In 2015, we witnessed the reveal of the world’s biggest individual wind turbine in Fukushima, Japan and in 2018 Portugal will also release a wind project. Currently northern Europe houses over 90 percent of all the offshore winds while the European Union plans on using renewable sources to make up 20 percent of their energy by 2020. The potential of these floating farms is huge, but the biggest issue that is currently being faced is the high price tag that is attached. However, if they find that the results are beneficial that they can outweigh the costs of these projects. Europe is not the only continent that is looking at offshore farms, there are other nations as well. The United States, Japan and China are also growing or developing their offshore winds.
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