The availability of higher speed winds offshore as compared to land makes offshore wind energy is a lucrative option when the demand for electricity is exponentially high. Offshore wind farms are very useful especially in places like the United States where nearly half the population is concentrated in coastal cities which results in very high energy needs in coastal areas. Offshore energy generation requires the installation of fixed-foundation wind turbines in relatively shallow water. However, potential wind energy sources are mostly found in water exceeding the permissible depth. Therefore, floating wind turbines become essential where these costly fixed foundation turbines are not feasible.
Andrew Myers, an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University has envisioned a process of designing a super light wind turbine that floats in water and can be effectively installed in both shallow and deep water. It can be easily anchored to the seafloor and will have the capability to reorient itself automatically to face the wind. He has designed an entire floating system which uses comparatively less steel as compared to the currently available designs. This efficient design plays a key role in reducing the manufacturing cost. After a successful test of the durability of this new design under large storms and hurricanes, this concept will become an integral part of wind energy harvesting.
Floating wind farms have the potential to increase the available area for offshore wind farms. It also provides space for fishing and shipping lanes and helps in reducing visual pollution. It is a simplified, flexible deployment and can reach stronger and reliable winds. It can be easily towed into position and can be assembled at the port only, this results in significant cost-saving and flexible construction. Hence, floating wind turbines are a significant development in energy generation and would prove to be an important tool in overcoming climate change.