World’s First Floating Wind Farm Opens Up Off Scotland

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 42
October 18, 2017

Photo credit: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam / Statoil

The first offshore wind farm to use floating wind turbines has started producing power for the Scottish energy grid in what could be the start of offshore wind’s push into deeper and more favorable waters for renewable energy production.

Hywind Scotland, the first floating wind farm in the world, was officially opened Wednesday by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, officially opens the wind farm. The project is operated by Statoil in partnership with Masdar,

The 30MW pilot wind farm is located in the North Sea about 25 kilometers offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and will power approximately 20,000 households. The park, made up of five Siemens 6MW wind turbines, covers an area of about 4 square kilometers, and is located in water depth ranging from 95-120 meters. The area sees an average wind speed of about 10 meters per second.

“Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 meters, 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,” says Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of the New Energy Solutions business area in Statoil.

The onshore operations and maintenance base for the project is located in Peterhead, Scotland, while the operations center is located in Great Yarmouth. The project feature a 1MWh Lithium battery storage solution for offshore wind energy, dubbed ‘Batwind’. Battery storage has the potential to mitigate power intermittency and optimize output.

An illustration showing the floating wind turbines used in the Hywind Scotland project. Credit: Statoil

“It’s fantastic to see Hywind Scotland up and running. The project is a great success for the teams at Statoil and Masdar and for Scotland, where floating wind could really flourish due to our accessible deeper waters,” said Sian Wilson of Crown Estate Scotland, which leases seabed acreage to developers on behalf of the Scottish Government. “We are committed to continuing our work to encourage floating offshore wind projects, which will in turn drive down costs, benefitting the whole sector—as well as the climate and consumers.”

According to Rummelhoff, Statoil is looking to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind project to € 40-60 €/MWh by 2030. “Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 meters) 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,” she said.

floating wind turbine
Floating turbine tow-out. Photo credit: Øyvind Gravås / Statoil

The Hywind project is also adding to Statoil presence in the UK. In Aberdeen over 1,500 are employees in the final phase of commissioning the Mariner oil field, one of the largest upstream UKCS developments in the last ten years. The field us due to come on-stream in 2018. Statoil also operates the Sheringham Shoal wind farm in the UK, which has been in production since 2012. The Dudgeon offshore wind farm in the UK, also operated by Statoil has now been completed and is also in production. In 2016 Statoil also acquired 50% of the Arkona offshore wind farm in Germany, which will deliver power in 2019.

Here’s some video of the project:

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