Wind turbines are conquering the sea

PROVENCE GRAND LARGE”VertiWind” farm of 13 floating wind turbines Location: Iin the Mediterranean, about 20 km off Fos-sur-MerProject leaders: EDF Énergies Nouvelles, in cooperation with Nénuphar and Technip Cost: 130 million eurosLaunch date: 2016There are currently only three floating wind farms in the world (in Norway, Japan and Portugal). But there might soon be another one in the Mediterranean. This project, led by EDF Energies Nouvelles in cooperation with Nénuphar and Technip, has been christened “Provence Grand Large”. The aim is to install a pilot farm of 13 floating wind turbines by 2016. It will be situated approximately 20 kilometres off Fos-sur-Mer, and it’s estimated that it will produce a total of 26 MW of power. The farm is costing 130 million euros, financed in part by a 39-million-euro grant from the European Union.Unlike traditional wind turbines that are installed where the water is no more than 40 metres deep, these floating turbines can be put in place in water up to 200 metres deepIn deep waterThe massive advantage of these wind turbines, which have been christened “VertiWind”, is that they can be installed in particularly windy areas out on the high seas using a system of water-filled buoys and cables that attach them to an underwater anchor. As a result they’re more profitable. These buoys are a welcome sight in the Mediterranean, where the winds are strong but the sea bed drops away quickly to a huge depth very close to the coast. This makes the area inaccessible to standard offshore wind farms, which need fixed foundations as the turbine is planted in the sea bed. But while standard turbines can only be installed in depths of no more than 40 metres, floating wind turbines aren’t subject to these restrictions and can be put in place in deep water of up to 200 metres. The other strength of these vertical turbines is that the alternator is in the buoy and not in the top of the mast, thereby lowering their centre of gravity and ensuring that they stay upright whatever the weather, whether the sea is calm or rough. This helps with their stability, and keeps them working.To go furtherFrance’s offshore wind industry is picking up speed

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