Great news as wind starts to truly find its place in the world of energy, buttressed here, with floating platforms, by new technology.
The world’s first full-scale floating wind farm has started to take shape off the north-east coast of Scotland.
Statoil is installing a 30 MW wind turbine farm on floating structures at Buchan Deep, 25 km offshore Peterhead, harnessing Scottish wind resources to provide renewable energy to the mainland. The wind farm will power around 20,000 households. The revolutionary technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines.
It hopes to cash in on a boom in the technology, especially in Japan and the west coast of the US, where waters are deep.
“This is a tech development project to ensure it’s working in open sea conditions. It’s a game-changer for floating wind power and we are sure it will help bring costs down,” said Leif Delp, project director for Hywind.
So far, one giant turbine has already been moved into place, while four more wait in readiness in a Norwegian fjord.
By the end of the month they’ll all have been towed to 15 miles (25km) off Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, where they’ll float upright like giant fishing floats.
While the turbines are currently very expensive to make, Statoil believes that in the future it will be able to dramatically reduce costs in the same way that manufacturers already have for conventional offshore turbines.
“I think eventually we will see floating wind farms compete without subsidy – but to do that we need to get building at scale,” said Mr Delp.
Hywind is a unique offshore wind technology developed and owned by Statoil. The concept has been verified through six years of successful operation of a prototype installed off the island of Karmøy in Norway. Hywind with its simplicity in design is competitive towards other floating designs in water depths of more than 100 metres.