The World's Largest Floating Wind Farm Is Here

Float on.
Float on.
Photo: Getty

This is the second day of the new decade, and the world’s largest floating wind farm is already doing its damn thing and generating electricity.

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Located off the coast of Portugal, the WindFloat Atlantic wind farm connected to the grid on New Year’s Eve. And this is only the first of the project’s three platforms. Once all go online, the floating wind farm will be able to produce enough energy for about 60,000 homes a year. Like many European countries (including Denmark and the UK), Portugal has been investing heavily in wind as a viable clean energy option.

In 2017, wind energy made up most of the country’s renewable energy production, but hydropower overtook wind’s top spot in 2018, per the Directorate General for Energy and Geology data. However, dirty non-renewable sources still make up a significant portion of Portugal’s energy production at 44.7 percent as of 2018. More projects like this floating wind farm should help the country meet its goal to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

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Floating wind farms allow countries to tap into a serious energy resource. Deeper waters see stronger winds than those close to shore, but the infrastructure to make them possible is still in its early stages. The world’s first floating wind farm only came online in late 2017 off the Scottish coast. That farm produces enough juice to power 12,000 homes. Now, the WindFloat Atlantic farm brings forth a new chapter in this technology. Smaller vessels were able to transport the necessary pieces for the project, which was installed on land instead of in the ocean.

What’s clear is the world needs more wind whether its onshore, offshore, or floating. And the 2020s seem to be off to a good start.

Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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DISCUSSION

dnapl
Dense non aqueous phase liquid

If everything works out as planned and global deployment goes swimmingly, this (floating wind) will be a big deal. Equinor (formally Statoil, aka Norwegian State Oil Company) is a leader in floating offshore wind power development. See, it says so right here on the website:

Equinor—the world’s leading floating offshore wind developer”

The referenced project is called hywind and is located somewhere between Scotland and Norway. Pretty cool stuff, honestly.