Hywind, floating wind power turbines
The future of wind power turbines is afloat. In fact the first floating wind power farm will be set up in Scotland. The sites that are suited for installation of the power plant have been located off the shores of the Isle of Lewis and along the Aberdeenshire coastline. The idea was born from a project of the Norwegian oil company Statoil that designed Hywind, the first prototype of a floating aerogenerator, that uses the technology used to build oil platforms. In 2009, Hywind was installed off the coasts of Norway, and has operated on an experimental basis for two years to test how the wind generator interacts with the wind and the sea. It is a 2.3 MW floating turbine, and it is not conditioned by the need to be installed only in seas with sea beds that are no deeper than 50-70 metres (as is the case with conventional offshore turbines). In fact Hywind’s floating is guaranteed by a spar buoy on which the wind blade is installed. The lower section is a hollow cylinder which extends to about 100 metres under the surface of the sea. The spar buoy is anchored with three steel cables and can be located in waters with depths ranging from 120 to 700 metres. This way there will be a greater number of sites suited for the installation of offshore wind turbines, and it will be possible to position them far away from the coastlines, in areas where the winds are stronger and constant and where there are no problems with regard to the landscape. Lastly it must be considered that the floating plants are more resistant to structural stress caused by the waves and the winds.