Energy tourism? Yes, I made that up, but considering that some companies have taken their endeavors involving large wind energy project development further by making them tourist attractions, it is only a matter of time until this happens on a larger scale. Scotland already has the Whitelee wind farm which provides organized tours for visitors, showing the facility, the technology, the process of making electricity from wind. I can see why this may be interesting from a tourist's perspective – it's not every day you can see a 120 meter tall turbine spinning right in front of you!
A new idea has emerged from one of the world's most windy places – Norway. on office has put forth an idea of making an offshore wind farm / hotel resort which would basically be a floating city with wind turbines installed all around. The wind turbines would generate electricity to power the entire needs of the facility, while housing accommodation for tourists. Since Norway's coastline near Stavanger is the windiest place in Norway, with very large wind energy potential. This form of energy has not been exploited in Norway very much, as opposed to fossil fuels and hydropower (another abundant energy resource in the country). Making wind turbines a tourist attraction is what is behind the Turbine City concept. Stavanger is known as the oil capital of the country, so bringing in this kind of attention would help the area build a more "sustainable" image.
Turbine City is seen by the designers as a place which would attract tourists, offshore workers, sailors, but also cruise ships which could make this location a major stop-over for its passangers. Turbines would have anywhere from 1 MW to 8 MW of capacity per unit, which on a larger scale should be enough power for all the facility's needs. If this idea is taken further, the designers are hoping it would become a land-mark location in Norway, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the Empire State Building in New York.
There are some things to consider before getting all fired up about the idea. First of all, large wind turbines like these would produce some noise and vibration, factors that would seriously damage your daily experience at the location. Okay, advanced sound proofing is one way to go, but you'll have to venture outside at least once a day, or maybe not? Another possible issue would be a possible lack of space – you would be in the middle of the ocean, basically cnostrained to standing on floating structures, most of which would be functional, rather than for leisure. Finally, the costs involved in developing a project such as this would most probably enormous by today's standards, which creates a bit of a problem with making the facility ecnomically viable in a reasonably long term of use.
In any case, the idea, if realized in the future, would definitely create a land-mark in Norway, and we are sure people would be coming to visit this technological marvel. How long would this remain an attraction for tourists? Hard to say, but it sure looks awesome, and as far as the design and the idea, we give it a thumbs up!