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23 Apr 2012: Floating Wind Farm Research
Receives Boost from U.S., UK Leaders

U.S. and UK officials have announced plans to work together in developing floating wind turbine technology, an innovation that could open new areas of the world’s oceans to wind energy generation. In a collaboration announced before a meeting of global energy leaders in London, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey said they would help fund research into floating platforms that would support turbines in waters as deep as 500 feet, where average wind speeds are consistently higher than near-shore wind farm sites. In addition, officials hope that floating turbine technology will reduce the costs of offshore wind, avoiding expenses associated with building on seabed foundations and allowing turbine repairs to be done in port rather than on the water. “Floating wind turbines will allow us to exploit more of our wind resource, potentially more cheaply,” Davey said. Moving turbines farther offshore could also help avert some of the public objections to constructing wind farms near coastal communities. British leaders have committed 25 million pounds ($40.2 million) for a demonstration of floating offshore technology, while U.S. officials have pledged to spend $180 million on four different demonstration projects.

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