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Scotland Launches World’s First Floating Wind Farm

Brian Baglow

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Hywind Scotland - Turbines moving into position

15 miles from the coast of Peterhead, the world’s first floating wind farm will generate enough power for 20,000 homes.

Hywind Scotland is a group of five huge wind turbines. Each stands 253 metres tall, 78 metres of which beneath the surface of the North sea, tethered by chains weighing 1,200 tonnes.

According to one of the development partners, the turbines have been built to withstand wind speeds of up to 40 metres per second, and ocean waves 20 metres high

In total the farm is capable of producing of 30 megawatts of energy. Later this year a 1MWh Lithium battery, known as Batwind, will be installed to store excess energy.

The Hywind operation was created and will be operated by Norwegian company Statoil in partnership with Masdar. The wind farm was officially opened by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am delighted to open Hywind Scotland—the world’s first floating wind farm. Hywind will provide clean energy to over twenty thousand homes and will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets.

“This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland.  Our support for floating offshore wind is testament to this government’s commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil’s Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world centre for energy innovation.”

Hywind Scotland: Mating the first turbineAs a world’s first, the wind farm will be closely watched by many other countries and other projects planning to use floating, offshore turbines.

Irene Rummelhoff, the executive vice president of New Energy Solutions for Statoil, said: “Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 metres, thus opening up areas that so far have been inaccessible for offshore wind.

“The learnings from Hywind Scotland will pave the way for new global market opportunities for floating offshore wind energy. Through their government’s support to develop the Hywind Scotland project, the UK and Scotland are now at the forefront of the development of this exciting new technology. Statoil looks forward to exploring the next steps for floating offshore wind.”

In recent years, costs for both onshore and fixed-bottom offshore wind energy have decreased significantly. Energy from floating wind turbines is expected to follow this trends, making costs comparable to other renewable energy sources.

“Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to €40-60 €/MWh by 2030. Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 metres) where traditional bottom fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward.”

Looking to the Future

Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, is already looking at future projects: “Masdar has a long-standing commitment to renewable energy in the United Kingdom, and we are immensely proud to deliver our first project in Scotland alongside our partners.”

“Hywind Scotland is showing that floating wind technology can be commercially viable wherever sea depths are too great for conventional fixed offshore wind power. This opens up a number of new geographies, and we are already looking at future opportunities with our partners, building on our existing international portfolio in onshore and offshore wind energy, and solar power.”

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Brian Baglow

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