While our oceans house not only diverse ecologies and possibly the lost city of Atlantis, they now have something else to brag about: serving as prime real estate for some very renewable energy. Norwegian energy group Norsk Hydro is to place giant floating wind turbines in the North Sea that will provide a reasonable, environmentally-friendly and economically feasible alternative to standard energy generation processes.

“It’s attractive to have windmills out at sea, out of sight of land, away from birds’ migration routes,” said Alexandra Bech Gjoerv, head of Hydro’s New Energy division at a signing ceremony to develop floating wind turbine technology.

The design by Norsk Hydro uses a three -able tethered system, similar to the ones used in oil rigs, that holds a 200 meter tall steel tube with an attached turbine and three 60-meter-long blades. Norsk Hydro expects to be able to use this technology on sites located 50-100 miles off shore, and with a depth of up to 500 meters. Norsk Hydro’s turbine will be the first large scale prototype of its kind, expected to be installed in the North Sea by 2009. If successful, Norsk Hydro expects a full windmill to be operational by 2012.

+ Norsk Hydro
+ Floating wind turbine may be in sea by 2009@ Stuff
+ MIT designs ‘invisible,’ floating wind turbines @ Physorg
+ Model testing of floating wind turbine facility @ Marintek
+ Feasibility of floating platform systems for wind turbines


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  1. dannielle.maker August 27, 2008 at 5:28 am

    hi i am dannielle and your websight is so cool

  2. zealer July 1, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    All is lost, all is lost, we are doomed.

    oil and natural gas are transported through thousands of miles of pipelines and there are thousands of oil and gas platforms.

    windmills don’t leak

  3. Solving the World Energ... October 15, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    […] Hydro has plans to create floating wind turbines in […]

  4. Burnerjack July 17, 2007 at 10:43 am

    The USA can and has done a lot in the way of technology. We could do a lot more. We can go to the moon.
    We can spend a BILLION DOLLARS on a space station( couldn’t find a better way to spend it?).
    We COULD have spent it on RE deployment but somehow the space station was more pressing(?).
    It is absolutely true that money makes the world go round. Why America is not at the forefront of RE deployment is truly a travisty. I’m going to take a guess that the American Public DOES care, WANTS RE
    but those in power have not positioned themselves to reap the lion’s share of the profit yet.
    While I’m grandstanding, I’ll take another guess and say that if the American government aligned themselves more closely with the American People, the country would be received much more warmly than it is presently and the American People would not be as resentful and resented as much around the world.

  5. Eric July 17, 2007 at 2:18 am

    If you like to have light and heat and things that make you not a 3rd world country then do whatever it takes to keep the night out. generate electricity, if you have any questions about how or what life was like w/o it check out some old books from the turn of the last century, Electricity is what defines us as civilized countrys. Be glad that you have time to usa bash, w/o electricity we’d all be really busy washing clothes, heating with wood or coal, spending lots of time foraging for food. There’d be less bashing and more really tedious work, however we’re all an awful lot alike in any scheme of things. Except the us has an awful lot of really hot chicks. I love that we’ve got hot chicks, woo hoo!

  6. davea0511 July 9, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    USA bashers: Its all financially driven (not Bush driven) … our petro (and eletricity) is and always has been almost 50% cheaper than yours so the market pressure has never been there for widespread US adoption of green-policies. Although the solution lies in huge taxes and fines for CO2 production (which fines will create the incentive), sadly that won’t happen just like it doesn’t happen in your country. Your country has other financial incentives pushing green-policies ie. you just don’t have cheap energy like we do. Green-energy provides an immediate cost benefit for itself in europe. It doesn’t here. So the fact that 50% green R&D occurs here says a lot. When the results provide competition to grid it will then be scalable – and that research is mostly done here.

  7. Sheep Guarding Llama &r... July 9, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    […] Here is a really cool idea: wind turbines that float in the ocean! […]

  8. .bootstrap » Floa... July 9, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    […] read more | digg story […]

  9. Pavl July 9, 2007 at 9:59 am

    On the topic of unforeseen consequences… I wonder what the vibration from these does to the water around them? Will this make fish go mad? Will it drowned out the long-range whale songs? I have a neighbor who uses a small windmill to vibrate the ground and keep gophers away which lead me to this line of thought.

    Any one have an educated guess on this?

  10. James Wolfe July 9, 2007 at 9:05 am

    One thing that always concerns me is the unintended consequences of our actions. In order to delay or prevent one outcome we cause something else to happen which could be far worse. For example why does Mars not have much of an atmosphere? Becauase it was blown away by solar wind. Why? Because it has no magnetic shield to protect it. Why? Because it’s core has cooled and is solid and does not rotate to create a magnetic shield. So what do we do? We tap the geothermal energy of our core to generate electricity and cause our core to cool faster. The reason why our planet is not too hot or cold is because heat is transfered from one side of the planet to the other by wind. So what do we do? We create wind mills to capture that energy and slow down the flow of heat from one side to the other. What will that do? You see the problem? How do we know what the long term effects are from our actions?

  11. Flydende vindmøller p&... July 9, 2007 at 8:08 am

    […] Flydende vindmøller placeret på dybder helt op til 700 m giver helt nye muligheder for at udnytte det enorme vindenergipotentiale , der ligger gemt i Nordsøens kraftige vinde. Indtil videre har det været økonomisk ikke været muligt/fornuftigt at satse på flydende vindmøller, men dette udforderer Hydro nu: Floating windmills. På bloggen Inhabitat kan du finde flere billeder og tanker om de flydende vindmøller. […]

  12. pmh July 9, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Michael V says (paraphrased): Big Oil will prevent this from being realized in the US.

    No, the so called conservationists like Ted Kennedy will prevent projects such as this from being realized in the US:

  13. Glorybe July 9, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Harvesting wind energy at sea makes a great deal of sense simply because there is usually a great deal more wind at sea. Also many land areas are highly developed and there is little room for windmills in those areas. Perhaps we will see some sort of energy conversion at the site. For example the wind could generate energy to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen and those products could be sent on shore for use there. I also have hope that fish farming might increase and perhaps a floating farm could be attached to these rigs. Obviously we will also need nuclear power units for quite some time to come but just maybe we can harvest wind and solar energy and clean up some of the mess we have already made.

  14. JLuc July 9, 2007 at 1:20 am

    “I am an american no longer living the US and my god, am I ashamed of my country. All the government care about at this point in time is the materialistic, minute problems rather then the more important problems which would cost them money to sort.”

    Actually, one of the big problems with Bush is how much of a money-waster his administration has been. You would think that Republicans would understand how crappy he is at controlling government spending. But, no, they are too busy getting outraged about stem-cell research and gay marriages. But it won them 2004 😉

    How people think that Bush is good for business staggers my mind, unless you are on the Pentagon suppliers list or a chum of Cheney’s. And, face it, whatever war America is fighting with terrorists is not being waged very efficiently by this inept administration. That said, I generally like Americans, and America, and I wish you would get over the Republican/Democrat divide, tempest in a tea cup really, and get a grip on your country’s image problem, including global warming. It’s not really a happy place becoming a country everybody fears.

  15. Jon July 9, 2007 at 1:15 am

    Maybe also add some hydro in there at the bottom for wind & water combo power

  16. cables July 9, 2007 at 12:58 am

    I was thinking about the problem and cost of cabling at first as well, but then I started thinking where they plan to locate this. The North Sea…

    The area already have “tons” (literally :)) of cables and gas pipes going to shore in most directions. Maybe they are looking at re-using some of that infrastructure as some of the fields will run dry in the next years.

    Another possibility is to use the electricity for oil and gas production. A major polluter in Norway is the oil and gas production at sea because this activity requires a lot of power and they generate this power on the platforms with smaller, less efficient gass powerplants which pollutes more per Watt produced than than larger modern gas powerplants.

    The pollution from these powerplants is at a scale where there has been discussions to build larger powerplants onshore that makes the electricity for the platforms.

    Windmills might be an alternative to reduce pollution in the oil and gass production itself.

  17. funkytown July 8, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    Here in north central Illinois we have much of the first phase of 198MW worth of wind turbines installed and operating, another 348MW proposed locally, and 1000MW more proposed statewide. They are sited in farmland, and farming continues around them with very little loss of arable ground. These supply the grid during adequate wind conditions but cannot be a complete solution. We still will depend largely on hydrocarbon power, and should re-examine new design nuclear.

  18. strangebuttrue July 8, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    I’m an American, and far from a Bush lover. But it’s only fair to point out that Texas is the American state that generates the most energy from wind power, and this is largely because of initiatives that George Bush championed when he was Governor.

    I point this out not as a “gotcha” but to note that you can find support for renewable energy across the political spectrum here and in many other countries.

    Having said that, I ultimately feel that investment in wind and solar are both dead ends.

    First, no matter how you slice and dice the numbers, the fact is that wind and solar are both unbelievably, staggeringly inefficient ways to generate electricity. While it’s easy to demonstrate wind and solar supplying power to a single family home or a small neighborhood, there’s no chance that we could ever use these sources of energy to supply our major cities, or our current and future industrial base. They simply don’t have the bang for the buck.

    Secondly, I feel that it’s just not a good idea to bet on the weather as a power source when we’re, unfortunately, entering a period of erratic and unpredictable weather due to global climate change. Many African countries that rely on hydro power are already having major problems with electrical generation because of this. The only way I can see solar working is if we looked into solar satellites, with is a tall order.

    I’m all for renewable energy, and energy sources that don’t increase the carbon load in the atmosphere. But let’s focus on realistic options like geothermal, large scale hydro, and especially nuclear that can provide the scale we need in a reasonable footprint.

  19. dbs July 8, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    so let me get this straight – I’m going to be sailing on my boat and there will be new obstructions out on the oceans in addiiton to plenty of wrecks, reefs, military zones, etc etc near land which I’ll have to navigate through and buy new navigationals charts for ?

    The idiocy of this statement just boggles the mind.

    Dear Dietmar. Have you heard of things called ‘charts’? They’re the latest rage. They mark fixed obstacles that need to be considered when setting your course. UNLIKE wrecks, these items STAY PUT. Once they’re set, you know where they are. ALSO unlike wrecks and reefs, they’ll have navigational beacons on them to tell you where they are.

    You should be updating your charts yearly or semi-annually anyway. You can also (gasp) update your own charts and mark where they’re located (“NOTE, BIG WHIRRY THING HERE”).

    Sailing is dangerous. Conditions change. Update your charts. It’s not like you’re tracking wrecks here that change and update daily. These set, they stay there. Period, end of story. YOu might also note “Hmm, I’m sailing around Denmark in the area where there are 80 FRIGGIN METER TALL WINDMILLS, maybe I should look out for them!”

    For gods sake man, think before you whine.

  20. George July 8, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    > The problem is the Bush administration and unfortunatly the Democrates got control a little too late…

    …and have done absolutely nothing but whine since gaining power. If you’re expecting them to suddenly take an interest in *useful* solutions, like a stronger drive for alternative energy that the President’s “Twenty in Ten” plan, I wouldn’t hold my breath. The “Democrates” (sic) are certainly more worthless than the Republicans IMHO.

    > Instaid of going crazy building tons of alt energy plants, we should just use less electricity.

    You first.

  21. dietmar July 8, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    so let me get this straight – I’m going to be sailing on my boat and there will be new obstructions out on the oceans in addiiton to plenty of wrecks, reefs, military zones, etc etc near land which I’ll have to navigate through and buy new navigationals charts for ?

    har har

  22. Fred July 8, 2007 at 3:50 am

    Check this US Carbon Footprint Map out, has United States Interactive Carbon Footprint Map, illustrating Greenest States. This site has all sorts of stats on individual State energy consumptions, demographics and State energy offices.

  23. Jim Wight July 7, 2007 at 5:25 am

    You all might be interested in a similar idea posted on May 4th 2007 at

  24. Ron July 6, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    competitive my *ss. How is the energy transferred to the shore ? It’s 100’s of miles off the coast. Mills on shore aren’t competitive with traditional power generation, this thing will NEVER EVER be competitive. Pulling a cable form this thing to shore will cost enormous amounts of money. Add the construtcion of this thing, the placement out at sea and you have the most expensive energy source on earth.
    Let’s just stick to nuclear.

  25. veggie lover gordon July 6, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    I like wind power but I don’t really think we should still be consuming energy. Instaid of going crazy building tons of alt energy plants, we should just use less electricity.

  26. Caroline Gates July 6, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Atleast the oil rigs are being recycled, maybe not the best thing to use (probably should make sure that its properly washed as they wouldnt want to get any oil into the sea).

  27. LA ENERGÍA EÓLICA ALT... July 6, 2007 at 11:00 am


  28. PedroCV July 6, 2007 at 9:56 am

    The Dutch built something similar to this project in the north sea. Their’s is anchored to the sea floor but it obviously offers some lessons as to how this might be done in the States.

    Oh, and it’s funded in part by Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest oil companies in the world. I’m not saying that oil companies are anything but self-serving, however it is telling to see how companies, even big oil companies, react when faced with public pressure to produce more green energy. They don’t have any interest in going out of business, but it’s up to all of us however to convince them that those billions that they were going to plow into oil exploration would be better used developing sustainable energy solutions.

  29. J July 6, 2007 at 9:33 am

    >>”I am an american no longer living the US and my god, am I ashamed of my country”

  30. Eddie Hitze July 6, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Actually, someone in the US is trying to do something very similar to this. However, this gentleman wants to recycle used oil rig platforms to hold his windmills.

  31. 煎蛋 » Floating... July 6, 2007 at 8:42 am

    […] read more | digg story […]

  32. Andrew White July 6, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Would it be possible to have another turbine at the bottom, near the ballast to generate additional power from the water? Thus increasing the amount of electricity a single installation can generate.

  33. Caroline Gates July 6, 2007 at 6:34 am

    In responce to J: I am an american no longer living the US and my god, am I ashamed of my country. All the government care about at this point in time is the materialistic, minute problems rather then the more important problems which would cost them money to sort. The problem is the Bush administration and unfortunatly the Democrates got control a little too late. As long as we have the money obsessed texan in the white house, nothing will change. The next election will be too late to fix the problems that Bush has created.

    I think that this idea is a wonderful idea, yes it may be expenisive but alot of countries are making allowances to create green energy at a cheaper price for the consumer. In the UK, off shore wind farms are being developed and even though some people may think they are an eye soar, they provide cleaner energy for everyone.

  34. Floating Windmills in t... July 6, 2007 at 2:23 am

    […] to have windmills out at sea, out of sight of land, away from birds’ migration routes.”read more | digg story These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new […]

  35. Nick Simpson July 4, 2007 at 8:05 am

    Kyle, calm down. Where exactly did it say the Danes were going to stop all investment into onshore wind because of this? Who’s to say they won’t do both (as I expect they and many similar countries may do)?

    In response to J’s point, I agree that having a go at normal Americans isn’t the answer, although I can understand it to a point. The problem is that the USA is a massive polluter and your green movement, although getting onto its feet, is still way behind the rest of the developed world. Obviously this is in a large part due to the settlement patterns created due to the lack of history within the country, along with the damage Bush has done, so ordinary Americans can’t be blamed. We’ve about 8 years left to avoid certain tipping points and unless there’s a big turn around (such as the election of Gore) I just don’t think we’ll make it…

  36. Energy Tech Stock &ndas... July 3, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    […] wind turbines might soon be commonplace, as giants like Norway’s Norsk Hydro wade in Why is wind power surging? . . […]

  37. kyle July 3, 2007 at 9:45 am

    This is a great idea, wow, instead of Norway getting 1000’s of MW of onshore wind which will be half the price, the politicians and their state company have decided to test a new technology that by its very nature will be more expensive than onshore wind and resign the country to 5-10 more years without significant wind investment. This offshore concept while interesting and possibly practical when good onshore sites have been exhausted, (which in Norway, they have not been) , woudl be better for a government such as Germany’s or Denmarks who have reached the capaity of their onshore programs as good wind sites are physically not available anymore or are not practical due to the NIMBY (Not in my backyard) phenomenon (by the way, that not just limited to non- environmentalists, Edward Kennedy and the kennedy’s, who own a nice piece of land next to the ocean, also object to offshore wind, as it ruins their view, this is the same fellow who is one of the oilfield conspiracy theroists). Shell was the first to build an offshore windfarm demonstrator off the North Sea, and Talisman(another oil company) is the first to build a deepwater demonstration project, DONG, Danish oil and gas company, are the market leaders in offshore wind…. there is nothing quite as good as a distraction such as the promise of future tech to keep the norwegian politicians from making the choice of increasing the subsidy for onshore wind to make it a viable industry…its less than 1/4 the amount received by most wind farms in the US……sad really….

  38. J July 3, 2007 at 8:43 am

    ok peeps..whats with the America bashing? so the administration sucks, and big oil is a problem to be dealt with – I’m damn proud to live in a country like this. a country so full of different people and cultures, a country where we can openly mock our president and not get locked up, a country where the green movement is up and running, and a country built on the ideals and values of some of the greatest secularists to ever walk the planet (i.e. the founders, jefferson, madison, washington, adams, franklin). Bashing America is not synonmous with being “green” or an environmentalist – we should all be encouraging and engaging with eachother in goodwill to meet and overcome the environmental issues at hand, not dividing over issues of nationality or our government’s missteps.

  39. Tim July 2, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    If it had a device to capture wave energy, the design would be even better!

  40. João Sousa July 2, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    well theoretically it’s a very good solution! It keeps those wind mills away from the shores so noone sees it also you can put that in a place where it doesn’t colide with the birds migration. But certainly there are other factors that are less good in placing windmills on the open sea. It has to do also with the way the sea wildlife will react to that and also the way to certify that all the windmills can be located by gps so that ships don’t hit them.

    I would love to see those in action!

    Michael V: You’re damn right! I’m glad i don’t life in a country like that! You have so much resources and so many ways to use them…

  41. Floating Off-Shore Wind... July 2, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    […] Inhabitat and Norsk […]

  42. Michael V. July 2, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    You will not find any ideas like this “on the boards” in the U.S. as long as Exxon, Mobile, Texaco, etc… control and run our our government, senators, congressmen as well as our stupid president Bush!

  43. theblub July 2, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    yeah, great idea. And again so simple.
    prapaby makes those offshore wind turbines less expensive…

  44. Nick Simpson July 2, 2007 at 8:17 am

    I really like this. One of the obvious problems at the moment with offshore wind is stablising them through attaching them to the sea bed. If they can simply be floated into place and anchored we could have a major source of competitively affordable clean energy. Countries like the UK, with high wind speeds and a lot of coast could exploit this without all of the whinging and whining we get at the moment with people arguing they ruin the countryside…

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