Deep Water Offshore Floating Wind Turbines Showcased in Michigan
On August 15 Detroit-based Charles Nordstrom, P.E. of Glosten Associates Inc. (naval architects and marine engineers out of Seattle) presented the latest design and deployment plans for the Pelastar floating wind turbine system at the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon. Emphasizing the opportunity to locate near load demand, Nordstrom explained the system avoids the difficulties of offshore construction and assembly by allowing the floating platform to be build dockside, with tower, nacelle and blades attached by a land-based crane. The entire assembly is then floated to its location and tethered to the lake or sea bed. The first 6 MW demonstration project, supported by Alstom Wind, NREL, BP, Rolls-Royce, Shell, Caterpillar, and others is targeted for offshore at Cornwall, England, in late 2015. Cost of energy estimates for first generation offshore wind farms is $0.170 per kWh, and below $0.13 in the second generation design for 10 MW wind turbines. The floating platform must be in at least 50m of water depth, and can be deployed at up to 500m depth.