Offshore wind is a relatively underexploited resource, with obstacles ranging from Cape Wind-like NIMBYism to the high infrastructure costs (and thus total costs) for installing systems out at sea. The idea of going toward floating wind turbines has been around awhile and Blue H Group looks to be one step closer to making that idea a reality.
Blue H offshore wind farms are planned to be far out at sea, virtually invisible to the naked eye from shore. At such locations, the winds are stronger and are more constant, ideal for generating large quantities of clean and inexhaustible electricity.
Rather than installing the wind turbine foundations to literally be built into the seabed, however deep it might be, Blue H is "adapting the concept of submerged tension-legged platforms developed by the oil industry ... and designed a platform large and stable enough to support a tower and a wind turbine."
According to Blue H, the Submerged Deepwater Platform (SDP) technology:
- Reduces the overall weight of the structure (claiming a 60+% total reduction for a 5 mw system, from 2100 to 800 tons)
- Can be built onshore / in a port and towed into place, 10 miles or more offshore in deep waters (more than 50 meters in depth), reducing the specialty requirements for heavy equipment like crane ships.
- Enables placing the wind turbines/farms far enough offshore to minimize NIMBYism and to be able to getting even better wind
- Can be dismantled/moved with little environmental impact
If this works, this suggests a path toward rapid ramping up of offshore wind at affordable costs.
"Blue H intends to demonstrate that deepwater offshore wind farms can be built economically and certainly at a cost which is extremely competitive to the shallow water wind farms of today" said Neal Bastick, CEO of Blue H.
Earlier this year, "Blue H designed, commissioned, and launched its large scale prototype in Puglia in Southern Italy." Blue H is now building the first commercial system for the Tricaste site, with 25 more units to follow. "This is likely to be the first offshore deepwater wind farm park in the world" with an installed capacity of 92 megawatts in waters over 100 meters deep. Could this be the first step in making offshore wind a major player in an Energy Smart future?
Hit tip to Retrograde for picking this up.
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