One of the world’s largest energy companies has begun construction of a revolutionary new type of floating wind turbine off the coast of Scotland.
Once completed, it will be the world’s first floating wind farm and will generate enough electricity to power a staggering 20,000 homes.
Successfully creating a floating wind turbine is not only a huge accomplishment in engineering but it also has the potential to revolutionise energy creation through wind power.
Unlike conventional wind turbines that are built directly into the seabed, a floating wind turbine can unlock huge swathes of ocean that had previously been considered unusable for wind power.
The company behind the technology, Statoil, have been perfecting their design since 2009.
Each turbine is a whopping 175m tall (that’s taller than Big Ben) and weighs over 11,000 tonnes.
To prevent these vast towers from tipping over each one uses what’s called a spar buoy. It’s essentially a vast floating weight that extends deep below the surface, much like an iceberg.
Each buoy is filled with around 3,000 litres of sea water and 5,500 tonnes of solid ballast. Finally each turbine then gets three vast suction anchors that are placed deep into the seabed.
The end result is that you have a huge wind turbine that can operate in deep sea conditions of depths up to 105m.
Each turbine is being built at shipyards in Norway and then being towed across the North Sea to their final resting place which will be off the coast of Peterhead.
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Scotland is already proving that wind power can be a hugely effective energy source after it was revealed that for a single day in August 2016 Scotland was entirely powered by wind.
According to the National Grid, it was able to produce 106% of its energy needs
While impressive, the United Kingdom will also soon hold the claim of having the world’s largest wind farm.
The Hornsea Project 2 is a vast network of conventional wind turbines covering an area twice the size of Birmingham. Once finished it will be able to power over 1.8 million homes.
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