Wind energy is now a very accepted form of clean energy. In many places around the world wind turbines have been supplying clean energy for over a decade. The technology just continues to improve with both the size and capacity of each wind turbine increasing it seems every year.
Wind farms started on land but now are moving offshore to the most windy of locations where wind power is guarenteed more often and more predictably. Turbines as large a 5 Mwatts each are being installed offshore and there are larger 7 Mwatt units being designed built for new offshore locations.
Maybe the next step for wind turbine technology is actually not wind at all but ocean currents. The design has many similarities and some obvious differences. Placing a current turbine in ocean tidal currents provides an even higher level of availability and predictability.
Check out this technology from Marine Current Turbines ( no owned by GE ). The turbines can sense current direction and reverse when the tides change. This is higher level of technical sophistication over wind turbines and the fact that they have to exist on the sea bed means they need to be very robust. Surviving in the open ocean, be it under the water requires some very special engineering and fabrication technigues.
Is the next frontier for wind turbine technology, under the water?
About Gordon Smith Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.