One Wind Catching grid turbine could provide 80,000 European homes with power. (Image Credit: Wind Catching Systems)
Wind Catching Systems (WCS), a Norwegian company, recently unveiled a floating wind turbine array capable of generating five times the annual energy of the world’s largest turbines. This could significantly reduce costs, allowing it to compete with grid prices. WCS also says the technology reduces acreage use by over 80%. It received investments from North Energy and Ferd and created the technology in collaboration with offshore wind supplier Aibel and the IFE Institute for Energy Technology.
At over 1,000 feet in height, the new concept combines multiple smaller turbines atop a semisubmersible platform moored to the ocean floor using practices from the oil and gas industry. A single array provides double the swept area of the 15 MW Vestas V236 and its smaller rotors could see improved performance in 25 to 27 mph wind speeds. Overall, this generates a 500% boost in annual energy output. Additionally, each array can generate sufficient power for 80,000 European homes.
WCS shows its grid turbine system at scale. (Image Credit: Wind Catching Systems)
These massive turbine systems are developed with smaller components, making them easier to maintain. Everything can be assembled on deck after the floating base is deployed. It doesn’t require cranes or specialized vessels, and the design makes it easier to access for maintenance. WCS says these arrays can stay operational for 50 years compared to 30 years for a single large turbine.
WCS is now ready to deliver offshore wind power on debut at a balanced energy cost matching or surpassing the grid power’s price. That’s an average of $105 per megawatt-hour in Norway and the US. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that the capacity-weighted LCOE of new offshore wind assets becoming operational in 2026 could average $115.04 per MWh, with other regions reaching below $100.
It’s still an expensive energy-generating technique compared to land-based wind and solar, but it could reduce offshore wind costs. The company says its estimations are based on an earlier deployment size that could become more economical once it’s scaled up.
More details or first installations for the prototypes have not been released yet, so we’ll need to wait a while before everything is proven.
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