At this week's multilateral clean energy meeting in London, the British government announced it will collaborate with the US to develop floating wind turbines that harness the higher wind speeds available over deeper water.
The UK's offshore wind potential big; it is estimated to account for about one-third of Europe's overall offshore wind potential. But in order to exploit it, new technology is needed to access waters that are too deep to fix turbines to the seabed.
"Britain has more wind turbines installed around its shores than any other country in the world, and our market is rated year after year as the most attractive market among investors," said UK energy secretary Ed Davey. "The UK and US are both making funding available for this technology, and we're determined to work together to capitalize on this shared intent."
The UK-based Energy Technologies Institute is commissioning a £25 million (approximately 40 million USD) demonstration offshore wind floating system that can generate 5MW to 7MW by 2016.
Photo: Hywind, a floating wind turbine with a capacity of 2.3MW, off the coast of south-east of Karmøy, Norway. (Øyvind Hagen/StatoilHydro)