Norwegian oil and gas giant StatoilHydro has inaugurated the world's
first floating full-scale offshore wind turbine, paving the way for
deep-water wind farms possessing the dual appeal of being out of sight
as well as more efficient.
The turbine, known as Hywind, towers 213 feet above the waterline,
but the steel spar on which it is mounted plunges another 328 feet
below the surface, where it is anchored to the sea floor by three
stabilizing cables. The spar is filled with water and rocks to provide
ballast that keeps the turbine from capsizing in rough seas. Located
about six miles off of Karmoey near the country's southwestern
coastline, Hywind will serve as a test bed for offshore technologies
over the next two years as engineers work on getting the cost of Hywind
down and figure out how best to develop even larger deep-water turbines.
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