Literature relating to offshore wind energy generation is produced at a significant rate, as research efforts are diverted to the emerging area of future clean energy. This paper presents an overview of recent research in the specific area of floating offshore structure design for wind energy. Earlier literature has broadly grouped these platforms into three categories based on their source of stability:

- Ballast stabilized (low center of gravity), e.g. spar

- Mooring stabilized, e.g. Tension Leg Platform

- Buoyancy or water-plane stabilized, e.g. semi-submersible.

These concepts were modifications of similar structures used in the offshore oil and gas industry. Recent papers have presented further improvements to these designs including active ballasting and control systems. These are examined for stability and global performance behavior and ease of operability and maintenance.

The paper also attempts to examine efforts to bring such concepts to fruition. Combined with this, the authors highlight activities that are ongoing in a consortium of industry and research institutions that is headed by the University of Maine. The origin of such a consortium is explained with reference to the future wind energy potential offshore Maine. This paper sets the stage for other papers in the Special Session on UMaine/ DeepCWind Consortium within the Offshore Renewable Energy Symposium at OMAE 2012.

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