The Energy Technologies Institute is examining the possibility of trialling floating wind turbines at a testing site in the South West. The ETI says the unorthodox wind turbine could maximise the potential of the UK’s windy coastline and bring generation costs for renewables down.
Should the project get the green light, the ETI will install a floating demonstration at the Wave Hub site by 2016. The Wave Hub is a designated marine testing zone, which has regular high wind speeds up to about 10 metres per second in water between 60 and 100 metres deep. The eight square kilometres area lies off the north coast of Cornwall and is connected to the National Grid, which is meant to allow realistic testing.
Dr David Clarke, ETI Chief Executive said: “The concept for the floating platforms is to be able to access near-to-shore, high wind speed sites off the west coast of the UK which would bring down the cost of generating electricity so the Wave Hub site offers some interesting possibilities.”
A study commissioned by the South West Regional Development Agency calculated there are enough marine energy resources for commercial use within 50 km of the South West coast to deliver 9.2GW of electricity- equivalent to 5% of the UK’s electricity needs by 2030.