Power plants learn to swim – ingenieur.de

In a few months, the largest floating wind farm in the world will come into operation, 140 kilometers off the Norwegian coast. It replaces some fossil fuel generators on oil production platforms.

Hywind Scotland is the world’s first commercial floating wind farm and has been in operation since 2017.

Photo: Øyvind Gravås / Equinor

It was a world first when Siemens, at the time without its current wind energy partner Gamesa in Spain, and Norwegian oil and gas group StatoilHydro put a floating wind farm into operation in 2009. It was anchored 12km away. south-east of the island of Karmøy in Norway at a water depth of 220 m. Hywind, as the facility was called, would become the ancestor of a variety of floating power generators. This should make offshore technology more flexible. The vast majority of places could not be used until then because the great depth of the water did not allow for conventional foundations on the sea floor.

Great interest in floating wind generators

The idea didn’t catch on as quickly as partners thought at the time. There are now 21 floating wind farms, most of them in Europe. However, the overall performance lags far behind that of conventionally established offshore installations and even more so than onshore installations. But locations in relatively shallow water are being built step by step, so new ones need to be developed further from the mainland. In particular, countries and regions with deep coastal waters are very interested in floating offshore systems. These mainly include the west coast of the United States, Japan, South Korea, China, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Scotland and Ireland.

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