Wind Power Finds Its Sea Legs

Turbines that can float in deeper waters would mean more power, and revenue
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted May 10, 2008 9:39 AM CDT
A speed boat passes by offshore windmills in the North Sea offshore from the village of Blavandshuk near Esbjerg, Denmark, in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Oct.30, 2002.    (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper)
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(Newser) – An answer to the world's energy crisis might be a breeze, the Economist reports—specifically, a breeze offshore. With wind blowing twice as fast offshore than on, engineers have been racing to develop technology to "float" wind turbines far out in the ocean—where they won't ruin coveted views from shore. They cost 50% more to build, but they generate five times as much power as landed cousins.

Though more than 300 offshore turbines—anchored in concrete on a relatively shallow seabed—dot British and Danish coastal waters, American companies have yet to produce a single one, due mainly to a hurricane of objections over visual blight. But "floaters" are already used to support many oil rigs, so marine engineers predict a boom in far-offshore wind farms in the next 5 years.