Could 'floating wind turbines' solve UK's energy crisis?
Britain is working with the US to develop "floating" wind turbines that could be used on rougher seas “out of sight” of land.
At the moment most wind turbines in the UK are onshore or in shallow water near the coast, often in areas of outstanding natural beauty, causing mass protests.
Unlike fixed offshore wind turbines, floating turbines can be installed in water more than 100m deep, where wind speeds are consistently higher. They are anchored to the sea bed with cables rather than concrete and can survive storms by moving with the waves in the same way as a ship. Most importantly they can be towed into port for repairs, making them more viable for the wild and windy coast off the north of the UK.
The new technology could also be installed off the coast of North America and the Iberian Peninsula. Already floating turbines are being tested off the coast of Norway.
The UK has a third of Europe’s offshore wind potential and by 2020 the Crown Estate hope to develop offshore sites in deeper water.
Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, said floating wind turbines could help the UK meet ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.