Plans to install turbines on platforms that float in the sea are gathering pace as renewable energy developers seek new areas to harvest wind power. Scotland has granted planning permission for as much as 92 megawatts of floating offshore wind capacity, including two separate projects in the past two weeks. And off Ireland’s coast, a joint Irish-French venture is moving ahead with a 30-MW array. The deals bring to about 237 megawatts the capacity of floating offshore wind projects that will be installed worldwide by 2020, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s just a fraction of the 38,000 megawatts of turbine due to be fixed to the seabed by the end of this decade. The nascent technology is seen as key to cutting the costs of offshore wind power and opening up swathes of seabed that would otherwise be undeveloped because of poor seabed conditions or because it’s too deep.
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