Offshore wind farms offer huge potential in wind power, but potential drawbacks make their future uncertain. One of the greatest concerns is financial, especially regarding the cost of anchoring a wind turbine to the ocean floor. That price of that construction is so high as to raise doubts as to the viability of large-scale offshore power generation.
Many companies are looking for ways to decrease that cost. One of them, Technip, went at it from a center-of-gravity angle, turning the traditional turbine structure on its side. The effect is a structure that's more stable: The Vertiwind design moves the generator, the heaviest component, closer to the ocean's surface -- 65 feet (20 meters) above the sea, rather than the usual 200 feet (60 meters); it also makes the axis of rotation vertical [source: Gatto]. The combined result is a lower center of gravity that reduces the depth and complexity of anchoring requirements [source: Snieckus]. Ideally, Vertiwind turbines will not need to be fixed to the ocean floor at all.
As of January 2013, a 35 kilowatt Vertiwind prototype is ready for testing off the coast of France [source: Wind Power Intelligence].
That's not, apparently, the only way to go about it, though. One final wind-power innovation proposes another solution to high offshore costs.