The Next Big Thing in Green Energy: Floating Wind Turbines

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It looks like we've got a new darling of green technology coming into focus for the United States and Britain: Floating wind turbines. And suddenly the business of developing those things is looking pretty lucrative.

The two countries announced on Monday that they'd collaborate on making the experimental turbines work, sharing the knowledge they're each gaining through the funds they're both doling out. And while we're not talking Exxon-level profits here, the money's already flowing:

ETI has commissioned a 25-million-pound ($40.29 million) demonstration project which should see a floating turbine constructed and installed in UK waters by 2016.

The United States has announced $180 million in funding for up to four advanced demonstration projects which could include a floating wind demo.

Wind power, you see, is one of the few natural resources the United Kingdom has a lot of. Smartplanet reports that "the UK has more offshore wind capacity than any other country," but the problem is most of the steady, heavy winds blow over parts of the ocean that are too deep to build foundations to. So floating turbines, which stay in place via cables anchored to the seafloor, make sense. But they're still very much experimental technology. The first-ever floating turbine went into operation off Norway in 2009, and today Norway's still the most advanced in the field. The U.S. and U.K. want to catch up, and they're willing to pay to do so. So if you've got some plans lying around for a design you think might work, now's the time to pitch them.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.