Sep 20, 2021 - Energy & Environment

New design for offshore wind farm has lots of fans

Image of Wind Catching Systems' floating network of wind turbines
This floating multi-wind-turbine system can generate enough electricity for 80,000 homes. Photo: Wind Catching Systems

A Norwegian company has come up with a radically different design for offshore wind turbines that could help the world achieve its renewable energy goals.

Why it matters: Wind power is cheap and efficient, but the strongest winds are far offshore, in deep waters, where it’s difficult to drive a turbine into the seabed. Floating wind farms can be anchored farther into the ocean.

Details: Wind Catching Systems scrapped the traditional Dutch windmill design — a pole and three giant blades — in favor of a 1,000-foot-high, grid-like network of smaller turbines that spin faster, generating more energy.

  • One of its floating Wind Catchers can produce enough electricity to power 80,000 European homes, the company says.

Context: The world's first floating wind farm opened in 2017 off the coast of Scotland, using a different design, according to Fast Company, which tipped us off to the concept.

What's next: Wind Catching Systems plans to deploy a prototype in the North Sea soon but has its eye on the U.S. too.

  • "The areas outside the coast of California would suit our system perfectly, with strong winds in deep waters near the coast," CFO Ronny Karlsen tells Axios via email. That won't happen before 2025.
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