Pic credit: Scottish Government
Once in full operation, the project has the capacity to electrify over 19,000 households. Pic credit: Scottish Government

In the North of the United Kingdom, Scotland is gearing up to welcome the world’s largest floating offshore wind project, a development proposed by Norwegian multinational oil and gas company, Statoil.

The Norwegian firm has suggested developing a pilot project, dubbed Hywind, consisting of five 6MW wind turbines, which will be installed off the coast of Peterhead. The total generation capacity will amount to 135GWh of electricity per annum.

On the acceptance of the application, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Hywind is a hugely exciting project – in terms of electricity generation and technology innovation – and it’s a real testament to our energy sector expertise and skilled workforce that Statoil chose Scotland for the world’s largest floating wind farm.

“The momentum is building around the potential for floating offshore wind technology to unlock deeper water sites. The ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the offshore oil and gas industry create the ideal conditions to position Scotland as a world leader in floating wind technology.”

According to the Scottish Government, it has been estimated that the Hywind Scotland development project could power up to 19,900 households.

How it will work

According to the Government, the Hywind turbines will be attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread and anchoring system.

The turbines will be connected by an inter-array of cables, where an export cable will distribute electricity from the pilot park to the Peterhead shore.

Potential for offshore wind developments

According to the Carbon Trust, this innovation will have “the potential to reduce generating costs to below £100/MWh [$154/MWh] in commercial deployments, with the leading concepts such as Hywind, with even lower costs of £85-£95MWh [$131-$146],” the government explained.

Maggie McGinlay, Director of Energy and Clean Technologies at Scottish Enterprise said: “This announcement is fantastic news for Scotland’s renewables industry as a whole, but in particular our growing offshore wind supply chain.

“We’ve been working closely with our companies to directly link them with Statoil for some considerable time to ensure they are in the best position possible to take advantage of the significant opportunities we know this development will bring.

She added: “This announcement is a clear indication that Scotland’s growing strengths in offshore wind are recognised at an international level, and we’ll continue to work closely with our supply chain to ensure they can capitalise on potential opportunities such as this, both here and overseas.”

Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions Irene Rummelhoff said that floating wind technology represents a growing competitive renewable energy source.

“Statoil’s objective with developing this pilot park is to demonstrate a commercial, utility-scale floating wind solution, to further increase the global market potential.

She added: “We are proud to develop this unique project in Scotland, in a region that has optimal wind conditions, a strong supply chain within oil and gas and supportive public policies.”

The project is expected to be fully commissioned by 2017, with offshore construction to commence in 2016.

 

Home page pic credit: Scottish Government