Floating Offshore Wind Farms Harness Vast Amounts of Wind Supply
Air pollution is just one of the top environmental concerns impacting the world. As outdoor air pollution levels rise, it wreaks havoc on everyone’s health. In fact, it’s the leading cause of deaths globally. Fossil fuels are used to create the energy we need but also contributes to massive quantities of air pollution in the form of emissions. Power plants release sulfur oxides, carbon dioxide, black carbon, mercury, other nitrates, and particulate matter into the atmosphere.
Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable sources of energy are the key to reducing our heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and bioenergy are examples of sustainable energy that can help organizations meet their clean energy goals. Energy conservation techniques like programmable thermostat also help individuals and organizations to reduce their carbon footprint.
The progress of improving renewable energy technology continues to jump by leaps and bounds. This is thanks to the engineers and creative minds driving innovation along with finding ways to reduce costs associated with getting the projects off the ground. This funding covers expenses like equipment, materials, and construction.
The advanced development of renewable energy sources has emerged at a time when governments and companies around the world need it the most. Most organizations are attempting to increase the use of renewable, clean energy in the place of older methods. Harnessing the power of wind energy is not only incredibly smart but it’s absolutely a sustainable energy solution that can support the increasing need for clean energy by commercial organizations everywhere.
New Floating Power Source Technologies
Wind energy technology has been around for nearly two thousand years. Farmers utilized windmills mainly for grinding grain or pumping water. Fast forward to 1991 when Denmark installed the first offshore wind project to generate renewable energy. This groundbreaking project was in operation for over 25 years and dismantled in 2017.
The very first set of floating offshore wind farm prototypes were deployed in the late 2000s because the large-scale wind power potential that’s available in the open ocean simply can’t be overlooked. The potential to harness this huge natural resource definitely caught the eyes of many large corporations. The development of these wind farms also called bottom-fixed offshore wind (BFOW) farms and floating offshore wind (FOW) farms was a major step full of possibilities.
In 2017, Equinor (formerly Statoil) built the first large FOW, known as the Hywind pilot park, just about 15.5 miles off of the coast of Peterhead, Scotland. It’s comprised of five 6 MW floating turbines that produce about 30 MW of power. Statoil is a leader in the FOW generation. This region off the coast of Scotland is an ideal spot to deploy floating wind turbines, particularly because of the depth of the water.
Equinor is seeking to set itself apart as a global leader in floating wind technology as it continues to revolutionize the wind energy industry locally and internationally. Its next big project is to cut carbon dioxide emissions by establishing a FOW farm as a source of power for the Snorre and Gullfaks oil and gas fields.
Another company working to establish a foothold as a leader in the FOW farm industry as well is Race Banks, which is ranked as the fifth largest offshore wind farm globally. It’s set to make big waves in the wind power industry as it gains more ground. The corporation opened up for business along England’s North Norfolk coastline right as the government established the new renewable load target.
Currently, Race Bank has installed 91 turbines that generate more than 570 MW of wind power capacity. Not only that but they currently own over 4,000 offshore wind turbines that span across 11 countries—with plans to add more in the near future.
As it Stands Now
Companies see the momentum for the continued development of floating offshore wind technology is taking off. FOW farms are only going to grow increasingly attractive to investors. With that said, companies around the world are gearing up to establish floating wind farms to generate nearly 237 MW of capacity by the year 2020.
Not only that but the results from Equinor’s Scottish FOW farm were extremely positive. It surpassed expectations at 65% electricity capacity. It also took a beating from Hurricane Ophelia and Storm Caroline but began operating again once it was turned back on without any problems at all.
It’s important to note that up until recently, offshore wind farms were limited to relatively shallow waters but the open ocean offers far more power to be harnessed. To make this possible to achieve, some of the key innovations engineers need to focus on would be to design wind turbines that are economical and capable of operating in deeper water sites. The turbine technology needs to be able to withstand extremely harsh weather conditions.
Other industries are beginning to follow the initial trend by preparing to meet the need for tools, such as turbine inspection toolmaker, SPI Borescopes. SPI Borescopes is a groundbreaking leader in the borescope industry, supporting the need for nondestructive inspection tools that allow maintenance engineers to work quickly and efficiently.
Governments are backing corporations that continue to improve the technical aspects of FOW capabilities. For example, France set its goal to be at 33% renewable energy in the next decade. Nuclear power is being phased out as it puts its focus on advancing BFOW and FOW energy farms.
The United States is also working to transition into deeper waters. Since nearly 90% of the United States OCS wind energy resource happens in waters deeper than its current turbine technology can be deployed, engineers are currently developing floating platforms capable of operating in deep waters.
Governments and companies around the world are committed to building structurally sound FOW farms that comply with international standards and are of the highest quality, particularly in the form of safety.
The Future of Offshore Wind Energy
As pollution grows, so do the tremendous costs associated with poor quality of life and chronic diseases as a result of air pollution. Risk of stroke, asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease are just a few of the risks faced by populations around the world, particularly those in densely populated and polluted regions.
By continuing to improve floating offshore wind energy technology, we can limit our dependence on the same fossil fuels we require to power the gadgets, homes, hospitals, and much more. As the development and operation of floating offshore wind farms improve, the cost will steadily decline, which saves money for businesses and families alike.
Renewable power produced by floating offshore wind turbines can be done safely without taking up additional land. There’s no doubt that commercial-scale offshore wind facilities are a game changer for companies and governments around the world looking for better and safer methods for generating the energy we need.
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