Illustration credit Equinor

Equinor Unveils Commercial-Scale Floating Offshore Wind Design Concept

Mike Schuler
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November 1, 2021

Norwegian energy producer Equinor has announced the launch a new design concept for a commercial-scale floating offshore wind turbine.

Equinor installed the first ever floating offshore wind turbine in 2009 and since 2017 has operated the 30 megawatt Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating wind farm located off the northeast coast of Scotland. After submitting its bid for floating offshore wind in ScotWind earlier this year, the company is now working on a full-scale gigawatt (GW) floating wind concept it calls the Wind Semi. At 1 GW, the semi-submersible wind turbine foundation will be over 30 times bigger than those in use at the Hywind Scotland project.

“We are ready to develop the next generation, large-scale commercial floating offshore wind in Scotland. By leveraging our twenty years of floating offshore wind experience and innovations, we plan to develop GW-size floating projects in one single phase. Implementing large scale projects will accelerate Scotland’s energy transition to net zero,” says Sonja C. Indrebø, Equinor’s vice president of Floating Offshore Wind.

“At 1GW, this project would be over 30 times bigger than Hywind Scotland, the UK’s and Equinor’s first floating project and have the potential to not only position Scotland as a leader in deep water technology, but also create opportunities for both existing suppliers and new entrants to the offshore wind sector,” she said.

Equinor says the Wind Semi is designed with flexibility, specifically to allow for fabrication and assembly based on local supply chain capabilities to ensure the technology can be deployed cost effectively while maximizing local benefits. Harsh waters was also a consideration.

“Hywind Scotland proved that the floating concept works, and as we move to the next generation floating offshore wind projects, we need to demonstrate that floating offshore wind is deployable at scale, in different geographies cost effectively whilst bringing local benefits. We have seen the journey of fixed bottom offshore wind, and combined with our long experience in floating, we can take learnings into account as we design and innovate the concepts for full-scale GW floating wind farms”, says Indrebø.

ScotWind is the competitive tender offshore wind seabed leasing round being undertaken by Crown Estate Scotland. The Scottish Government has committed to reduce emissions to net zero by 2045, one of the most ambitious targets globally. To support this ambition, they have set a target to deliver up to 11GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.

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