Floating wind power is fighting its way into industrial-scale existence, with projects extending the reach of the fast-emerging technology into the richer, steadier streams of the world’s deeper waters.
Even for an industry fast growing accustomed to the skyward scale-up of its technology, this is jaw-dropping: a rotor blade more than double the size of any yet built — 200 metres from root to tip — designed to be flown by a gigantic 50MW offshore wind turbine.
Throughout its 25-year history, First Solar, the largest US PV manufacturer, has always had plenty of things going for it. The efficiency of its thin-film modules, however, was never one of them. How times have changed.
The European wind-power industry’s Olympian effort to scale up its offshore turbines towards 10MW has driven down the levelised cost of energy (LCoE) to the point where the targeted £100 ($143) per MWh is now squarely in the cross-hairs.