Floating Wind Turbine is now a New Player in Cleantech

Published on: 09 May 2022
by KnowESG

Black energy sources such as oil and coal have been utilised to generate energy for many years. However, nature is suffering, and fossil fuels increase human activity's environmental impact. It is high time we had acted against climate change.

Energy, according to the UNEP, is the leading cause of climate change, accounting for over 60% of total world greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, 3 billion people cook and heat with wood, coal, charcoal, or animal dung. As a result, the United Nations established Sustainable Development Goal 7, Affordably and Clean Energy, with one of the goals being to increase the proportion of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The environment offers a variety of renewable energy sources, such as wind, which can be employed on land or offshore. Offshore wind is particularly well suited to countries with large coastlines, and it will play a significant role in decarbonisation and the shift to a greener energy supply. Floating offshore wind turbines have emerged as a new participant in cleantech in recent years, allowing offshore wind to be globalised.

Offshore wind development has accelerated dramatically in recent years. For starters, due to higher wind speeds at sea, offshore wind farms generate more electricity than onshore wind farms. Second, onshore wind farms are frequently subjected to the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) phenomenon and visual pollution; people may support green energy as long as it does not negatively impact their lives.

Offshore wind has always been built on fixed infrastructure, limiting the turbines' ability to be installed in very shallow water. This has not been a problem for countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark, where the first offshore wind farm was built in 1991.

Because floating wind turbines are not tied to the bottom, more competition is possible because countries with deep water can enter the market without restrictions.

There are three functioning floating wind farms in Scotland and Portugal right now. The first floating wind farm was installed in Peterhead, Scotland, using Norwegian technology. In 2021, the farm, which consists of five turbines with a total capacity of 30 MW, had an average capacity factor of 57.1 per cent. For three years in a row, the Hywind farm has been the best performing offshore wind farm in the UK (in 2021).

The Kincardine Offshore Windfarm in Aberdeen, Scotland, has been declared the world's largest floating wind farm, with six turbines totalling 50 MW. This initiative is expected to power over 50,000 houses and potentially assist other countries in meeting their energy goals.

Experts announced that floating wind power could be the solution to generate energy in Portugal at the conference "Generating energy for the world and safeguarding the planet" in Lisbon in February 2022. Tiago Pitta e Cunha, President of the Blue Ocean Foundation, claimed that "offshore wind is especially essential to Portugal, which cannot help but rely on fossil fuels due to a lack of "sustainable alternative means".

WindFloat Atlantic, a 25 MW floating offshore wind farm outside Viana do Castelo, Portugal, began supplying electricity in July 2020. The farm, which has three Vestas turbines, is expected to generate enough electricity for 60,000 people, saving 1.1 million tonnes of CO2. WindFloat Atlantic generated 75 GWh in its first year of operation, enough to power 60,000 people.

The three wind farms are the first examples of floating wind in a rapidly growing sector, demonstrating the floating cleantech. With the success of floating wind turbines, it will only be a matter of time until other countries follow Portugal and Scotland's lead, culminating in a ripple effect that leads to greener technology and a greener tomorrow.

This would not only aid countries in their green transformation, but it will also benefit the economies and well-being of African countries with extensive coastlines.

We need to consider how we might preserve the planet while boosting global well-being, economic growth, innovation, and infrastructure by utilising new, alternative cleantech sources.

Source: United Nations