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Power Earth Technology

First Floating Wind Turbine Buoyed Off Norway 265

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the good-for-when-the-icecaps-melt dept.
MonkeyClicker writes to tell us that the world's first large-scale floating turbine has been installed off the coast of Norway. A combined effort between Siemens and StatoiHydro, this marks the first foray into deeper waters due to restrictions in place that require offshore turbines to be attached to the sea bed. "The turbine in Norway will be 7.4 miles offshore where the water is 721 feet deep. It will be utility-size turbine, with a hub height of about 100 feet, capable of generating 2.3 megawatts of electricity. To address the conditions of the deep sea, the turbine will have a specially designed control system that will seek to dampen the motion from waves."
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First Floating Wind Turbine Buoyed Off Norway

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  • by nhytefall (1415959) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @01:38AM (#28317635) Journal
    Of an old saying... "There's power in the motion of the ocean". Though I think that quote referred to something completely different.
  • Future Bond location (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LoudMusic (199347) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @01:50AM (#28317691)

    Well obviously there's potential there or they wouldn't have gone as far as they have, but I just don't understand how it doesn't tip over instead of spinning, or how they keep it pointed in the right direction. I'd love to see it in person. And I bet they use them in a future Bond film.

    • by RsG (809189) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @02:05AM (#28317743)

      You do know that using wind power on the ocean goes back a ways, right? If we hadn't solved that tipping over problem some time ago, we'd never have build sailboats :-P

      All that it takes is a wide keel and some ballast. You just need to be bottom heavy enough to have a low centre of gravity, and be wide enough that if one side starts to sink, buoyancy automatically corrects by lifting that side back to the water line.

      For a non-moving station, these problems are simple, since you don't need to worry about maintaining mobility. Your buoy can be an air-filled plastic sphere with a lead weight bolted to the bottom. Easy. On a boat, you need to keep a more slender shape than a sphere in order to lower resistance, and you want your ballast to be as light as you can safely get away with to keep the keel fairly shallow (both for reducing resistance and weight, and allowing the ship to enter shallow water without grounding).

      • by Plunky (929104)

        You do know that using wind power on the ocean goes back a ways, right? If we hadn't solved that tipping over problem some time ago, we'd never have build sailboats :-P

        You do know that sailboats heel over, right?

        All that it takes is a wide keel and some ballast. You just need to be bottom heavy enough to have a low centre of gravity, and be wide enough that if one side starts to sink, buoyancy automatically corrects by lifting that side back to the water line.

        Deep keel. Also your views one bouyancy are real

        • by RsG (809189)

          Bah, I typed that in a hurry. For starters, I meant to talk of both hulls and keels and conflated them. My bad.

          Wide hull, deep keel. Better?

          And how exactly have I got buoyancy wrong? If you're listing sideways buoyancy is (part of) what rights you. The dipping side is tries to rise up, while the rising side tries to fall down, both because they've changed in depth from where they ought to be. This is an oversimplification, but not an inaccurate one.

          • by Plunky (929104) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @05:52AM (#28318555)

            And how exactly have I got buoyancy wrong? If you're listing sideways buoyancy is (part of) what rights you. The dipping side is tries to rise up, while the rising side tries to fall down, both because they've changed in depth from where they ought to be. This is an oversimplification, but not an inaccurate one.

            A wide hull would only hinder your stability, until the width is a significant multiple of the wavelength (which btw can be hundreds of metres). What you need for stability is a narrow tower structure that extends deep into the sea so that the surface waves don't have any appreciable affect on it. The surface of the sea is chaos and a structure like this needs to endure it rather than adapt to it. See Spar Platforms [globalsecurity.org] for example.

  • Am I off base (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dasher42 (514179) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @02:02AM (#28317733)

    For suggesting that a measure of tidal power could be harvested as well here? After all, kites can be used to harvest power through the tension exerted on their cables, if I'm correct. Similarly, these turbines are going to be tethered, right? How about it?

    • by RsG (809189)

      This particular turbine isn't tethered. That's what makes it special - the earlier models work the way you describe.

      The advantage of tidal is that it's cyclical and predictable; the drawback is that it's expensive and hard to maintain. I don't think attaching it to a wind based system would lessen the drawbacks much.

      Now, attaching a wind turbine to some sort of nifty power storage device to equalize it's variable output, that would be useful. Wind power would pair nicely with a hydroelectric dam, since t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Plunky (929104)

        This particular turbine isn't tethered. That's what makes it special - the earlier models work the way you describe.

        In fact it is not fixed to the seabed, it definitely is tethered otherwise it would float away. Also, wireless power transmission has not been developed yet (on this scale).

        • by RsG (809189)

          True, but he referred to "tension exerted on their cables" as a means to generate power. I visualized his proposal as something like an buoy anchored to the seabed, which has in fact been done for previous offshore wind power systems. I'm not positive, but I don't think his idea will work if the tether is simply a line to keep the buoy from floating away.

  • by reporter (666905) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @02:15AM (#28317791) Homepage
    According to a researcher [latimes.com] at the University of California, solar power, wind power, and nuclear power have the following costs in 2006 and 2016. The first cost is for 2006. The second cost is projected for 2016.

    1. solar power: more than 20 cents/kwh, 10 to 14 cents/kwh

    2. wind power: 5 to 7 cents/kwh, 3 to 6 cents/kwh

    3. nuclear power: more than 3 cents/kwh, more than 3 cents/kwh

    Here, "wind power" refers to wind turbines on land. A wind turbine at sea would surely cost more than a land-based one.

    In other worse, nuclear power is still the best solution until we can significantly improve the efficiency of generating solar power and wind power.

    We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation. However, no American politician has the guts to touch that topic. It is too closely tied to illegal immigration. When a faction [nytimes.com] in the Sierra Club tried to address that issue, the members of that faction were accused of being "racist".

    • by RsG (809189) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @02:41AM (#28317865)

      I fail to see what immigration has to do with overpopulation. Or rather, I do see, but what I see is only shortsightedness.

      A person moving from place A to place B does not increase the net population of AB, but does make their negative impact on the environment B's problem. So the attitude of "if we curb immigration, we reduce pollution" omits the reality that pollution does not obey national borders. It's the attitude of "somebody else's problem", which I could frankly do without.

      Of course, you could argue that immigrants moving from a poor country to a rich one will use more resources once there. That is technically correct. But the counterpoint is that richer populations have fewer children, and in the long run that immigrant is going to assimilate. If not them, then their children. And part of that assimilation is the reduction in birthrate that comes from living in the developed world.

      • by feepness (543479) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @03:13AM (#28317969) Homepage
        The problem is that if you use fiscal measures to "encourage" having fewer children you are, by definition "punishing" those who have more. At the very least you are questioning the wisdom of having so many children.

        Immigrants typically have more children. Since questioning anything that is typical of immigrants is racist, much less actually punishing, this topic is verboten.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by RsG (809189)

          The problem is that if you use fiscal measures to "encourage" having fewer children you are, by definition "punishing" those who have more. At the very least you are questioning the wisdom of having so many children.

          You misunderstand. The reduction in birthrate I speak of has nothing whatsoever to do with punishment. No program is in place to ensure people like myself do not have many kids, and yet I can't think of a single person I've known within ten years of my age with more than 3. 1 or none is more often the case.

          The cause isn't government programs, or social stigma, or any such bullshit, it's a reflection of reality. If you live in a developed country, you have an incentive (several actually), not to have as

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by feepness (543479)

            I can't think of a single way for a government to punish having kids that wouldn't be borderline totalitarian. Forget "racist" - "tyrannical" springs to mind. Better to let cultural assimilation do what it has always done, and assume they'll be at the average birthrate in a generation or so.

            What you're missing is that we currently pay people to have children. In our modern society, removing a benefit is considered punishment.

            Since immigrants tend to have more children... well, you can do the math.

    • by catmistake (814204) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @03:35AM (#28318071) Journal
      What is exactly the cost of a Chernobyl scale accident? Unless the possibility of such an event is reduced to zero, we should really define this figure, and be prepared to spend it if the need arises.
      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Chernobyl was really only possible at Chernobyl. It wouldn't effect modern plants around the world.

        If I remember right, it had something to do without the same safety concerned and most every where else implemented along with half of the plant not knowing what the other half was doing so they reacted incorrectly when people were running a drill or a test on parts of the system.

        It really isn't repeatable. At best, we will get minute leakage somewhere that will most likely be detected soon and contained.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by catmistake (814204)
          You missed my point. Not talking about precisely what happened at Chernobyl... but a nuclear accident, any nuclear accident, that had the scale of Chernobyl. Maybe what happened at Chernobyl can't happen again, but other stuff with exactly the same results can happen.

          take a look at this [lutins.org]

          Anyway, I'd like to know what Chernobyl, and any nuclear accident of that scale, might cost, and I'd like this figure taken into account when considering the cost building more nuclear power plants. kthx.

          • That's a lovely list you have there. It appears, though, your premise in posting it has two questionable basis:

            1) That all the knowledge required to prevent any of those incidents was freely available to humanity before we started experimenting with nuclear power.

            2) That people in the nuclear power industry don't learn from these events and design & train against them.

            The acquisition of knowledge isn't 'free'- sorry, no one is smart enough to foresee everything. Once the knowledge is acquired, however, it spreads rapidly throughout the industry.

            Plus, a number of the items on that list are exaggerated, and their importance 'played up' for ignorant readers. Ignorance is of course rampant on the anti-nuke side: ignorance of the specifics of radiation, lack of perspective, the inability to evaluate realistic alternatives, ignorance of the political issues (not technical ones) that dominate the 'waste debate', etc, etc.

            For most anti-nukers, all they have left is 'RADIATION BAD!!!!'. If they've got anything more than that, it's "WASTE BAD." In both cases a substantial level of ignorance and the accompanying fear are an intrinsic part of the equation.

            Anyway, I'd like to know what Chernobyl, and any nuclear accident of that scale, might cost, and I'd like this figure taken into account when considering the cost building more nuclear power plants.

            Now multiply it by the probability, and I'm just fine with that- Because the added dollar cost of this figure is utterly insignificant.

          • by sumdumass (711423)

            I see your point now but I think it is largely already accounted for.

            The extra protections, then safety switches and procedures, actual lock out tag out and demanding on site compliance is all an expense that can be built into the plant and operating costs rather then account for a disaster. So I guess what we could ask in addition would be could any of the expense of handling something like a Chernobyl scale disaster be either accounted for with the extra safety protections or would those protections be in

        • by legirons (809082)

          It [Chernobyl] really isn't repeatable. At best, we will get minute leakage somewhere that will most likely be detected soon and contained.

          By which you mean a huge leak draining the reactor pool into the sea [telegraph.co.uk] which would likely have been detected 10 hours later after the fuel rods had caught fire if it not for blind luck in this incident?

          • by sumdumass (711423)

            If you read the article, you would have noticed that it wasn't an operating nuclear plant and the fuel wasn't in the reactors, they were being decommissioned in a cooling pond.

            The chief inspector for the NII said a fire was not at risk because the rods were partly decayed and would have remained submerged in 2 feet of water. The only risk of a Chernobyl type accident here was the fear the information created to people not paying attention.

            BTW, it's easy to engineer a fail safe on something like this, just p

            • If you read the article, you would have noticed that it wasn't an operating nuclear plant and the fuel wasn't in the reactors, they were being decommissioned in a cooling pond.

              So; the fact that the material from the reactor remains dangerous and at risk of a "supercharged radioactive fire" even when it's not actually in use any more is supposed to be a good thing????

              • by sumdumass (711423)

                It's not a good thing yet it's not a bad thing either. At that state is only temporary until the rods have cooled sufficiently. Your are statistically more likely to be fatally injured in a car crash on the way to or from work then to ever be effected by decommissioned nuclear fuel rods erupting into a fire. Does that make going to work a good thing? No, it just a risk we can live with and take precautions so that it won't or is unlikely to happen.

      • What is exactly the cost of a Chernobyl scale accident? Unless the possibility of such an event is reduced to zero, we should really define this figure, and be prepared to spend it if the need arises.

        Yeah, totally. Also, we should calculate the cost of a 100 tom meteorite hitting California. The possibility of that isn't zero, either, so by your wonderful logic, "we should really define this figure, and be prepared to spend it if the need arises."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by chefren (17219)
      Still another point to make is the efficiency of distribution. Not many of those watts produced at the power plants actually make it to your wall outlet.
    • by Zumbs (1241138) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @03:51AM (#28318147) Homepage

      We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation. However, no American politician has the guts to touch that topic. It is too closely tied to illegal immigration.

      Overpopulation in North-East US, Western Europe and Japan is not due to immigration. Most of the people living there are breed and born there. The major reason for growing demand for energy is not overpopulation - it is technological development. In the West as well as in the developing world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Joren (312641)

        We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation. However, no American politician has the guts to touch that topic. It is too closely tied to illegal immigration.

        Overpopulation in North-East US, Western Europe and Japan is not due to immigration. Most of the people living there are breed and born there. The major reason for growing demand for energy is not overpopulation - it is technological development. In the West as well as in the developing world.

        You are aware that Japan's population is declining at a rather alarming rate, right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by johannesg (664142)

      In other worse, nuclear power is still the best solution until we can significantly improve the efficiency of generating solar power and wind power.

      The word "best" is not solely defined by price. When you buy a new car, do you always get the cheapest pile of shit you can get your hands on? Or do you look for something with a certain range, speed, capacity, and maintainability, in addition to it being in your budget?

      We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation. However, no American politician has the guts to touch that topic. It is too closely tied to illegal immigration. When a faction [nytimes.com] in the Sierra Club tried to address that issue, the members of that faction were accused of being "racist".

      Sending all the immigrants back just moves the problem of energy generation to another place in the world - but it will still be there, and the ecosystem is a global one.

      Of course, americans use more energy per head of the population than ev

    • by cca93014 (466820)

      In other worse, nuclear power is still the best solution until we can significantly improve the efficiency of generating solar power and wind power.

      We don't necessarily need to improve the efficiency of wind or solar, we can improve the cost instead...

    • First of all, let me say that I am a big proponent of nuclear energy, and in particular fast-breeder reactors.

      That said, those figures look silly: you do realize that 34 cents/KWh is also more than 3 cents/KWh, don't you? I even read that "article" you linked to, and it's very poorly written. I am pretty sure this is not a peer-reviewed article, because its quality is severely lacking and no scientist would give approval to its publication in this form.

      In any case, the way it is written, it does NOT support

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation.

      Wrong, that reason is overconsumption. I'm not talking about "taking more than your share"... WTF is your share? I'm talking about needless economic activity which causes the consumption of energy (i.e. purchasing of manufactured goods.) People buy all manner of shit they don't want, don't need, don't use. They leave lights on when they're not in the room. The biggest culprit, in fact, is our throwaway society. It can actually be cheaper to replace a two year old car that has light collision damage than to

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      A wind turbine at sea would surely cost more than a land-based one.

      Is that true per kilowatt-hour? Seems to me that ones on sea should get more wind, more consistently. Is that not enough to offset the increased costs?

    • We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation. However, no American politician has the guts to touch that topic. It is too closely tied to illegal immigration. When a faction [nytimes.com] in the Sierra Club tried to address that issue, the members of that faction were accused of being "racist".

      The reason charges of racism were thrown around are two-fold:
      - the faction advocating control of overpopulation was basically a set of very fresh faces with

  • navigation maps (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Max_W (812974) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @02:37AM (#28317851)
    I hope they will put it on new navigation maps. But how to update existing maps?

    I would be a nightmare for a captain to meet such things in high seas. As far as navigation is concerned it is a new island.
    • Re:navigation maps (Score:5, Informative)

      by Plunky (929104) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @03:30AM (#28318055)

      I hope they will put it on new navigation maps. But how to update existing maps?

      This problem was solved a long time ago, chart updates are made available regularly and large vessels will be obliged to subscribe to the service. In these modern times of electronic charts (most ships use them though they are still required to carry paper charts) updates are easily applied.

      Also ships have RADAR so they can see obstructions (other vessels are not marked on charts) plus another more modern invention called AIS [wikipedia.org] which allows vessels to broadcast their position, heading, course and speed and have it overlayed onto the radar plot (and the charts). You can be sure that massive floating platforms will have lights, radar reflectors and an AIS transmitter.

  • by carlzum (832868) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @03:11AM (#28317967)
    I missed the word "wind" in the summary and thought they had developed a current turbine [anl.gov]. Ocean currents have incredible potential, but maintenance challenges make underwater turbines impractical today. But unlike wind and solar power, ocean currents and waves could actually displace fossil fuel as a primary source of energy.
  • ...dampen the motion from waves...

    So the waves aren't wet enough yet? Norway has strange oceans.
    On the other hand, I think for the first time "inertial dampeners" is the right term to use...
    (Yes, to damp is a verb too. Heavily underused. As is "dampers")

  • to harvest the wave energy as well as the wind energy with something similar to this? I guess you could also slap some solar cells on it. =)

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