In June, a large-scale floating turbine was installed off the coast of Norway by companies StatoilHydro and Siemens. The floating turbine, dubbed the Hywind, is located in water that is about 700 feet deep. This is significantly deeper than previously installed offshore turbines whose fixed-bottom structures required a water depth of only about 100 feet.
The United States has yet to install any offshore wind turbines, partially because appropriate turbine designs, like the floating turbines, are still being researched, said Jason Jonkman, a senior engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
"Offshore wind energy must progress in stages in the U.S.," he said. "Before deepwater floating wind energy can become a reality, we must ‘get our feet wet' so to say by first installing fixed-bottom offshore wind turbines in shallow water, less than 30m. Once we have experience with that technology, we can move to deeper water."