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StatoilHydro, a Norwegian oil and gas company, plans to build a full-scale, floating wind turbine called Hywind off the coast of Norway. The company says it will invest approximately 400 million Norwegian krone in the project, which is expected to begin this fall.

A 2.3 MW wind turbine will be attached to the top of a spar buoy. This design is based on floating concrete constructions used in North Sea oil installations, according to StatoilHydro.

The wind turbine will be built by Siemens. Technip, a global oil and gas project manager, will build the flotation element and will be responsible for the offshore installation. Paris-based cable company Nexans will lay the cables to shore.

"Taking wind turbines to sea presents new opportunities," says Alexandra Bech Gjorv, head of new energy at StatoilHydro. "The wind is stronger and more consistent, areas are large and challenges we are familiar with from onshore projects are fewer."

The rotor blades on the floating wind turbine are expected to have a diameter of 80 meters, and the nacelle tower will be about 65 meters above the sea surface.

The floating element will have a draft of 100 meters below sea level and will be moored to the seabed using three anchor points. StatoilHydro predicts that Hywind will be located in waters with depths ranging from 120 meters to 700 meters.

SOURCE: StatoilHydro

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