World’s first floating wind farm unveiled in Scotland

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday opened the world’s first floating wind farm in the North Sea – around 16 miles from the Aberdeenshire town of Peterhead.

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Hywind Scotland can be used in areas that have so far been inaccessible for offshore wind in water depths of up to 800 meters, paving the way for future global expansion of the technology.

The 30 megawatt (MW) wind farm consists of five floating turbines each almost double the height of the London Eye, and will provide clean energy to power approximately 20,000 households.

Sturgeon said at the opening event: “this project positions Scotland as a world centre for energy innovation.

“Hywind will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets and marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland.”

The project is operated by Norway-based Statoil, which said floating wind technology is likely to experience similar cost reductions to those seen in the rest of the offshore wind sector in recent years.

The multinational energy company revealed that its ambition is for the costs of power from Hywind to fall between €20 and €60/MWh, and expect similar projects to emerge going forward.

“Through their government's support to develop, the UK and Scotland are now at the forefront of the development of this exciting new technology,” Statoil head of new energy solutions, Irene Rummelhoff, said.

The pilot farm will cover around two and a half square miles of water depths varying between 95 and 129 metres, with the average wind speed in area around 10 meters per second.

Scottish Renewables chief executive, Claire Mack, said as the windiest country in Europe, and with some of the deepest waters, Scotland is ideally placed to capitalise on the technology.

“Our unique offshore supply chain and the skillset it supports put us at the forefront of the deployment of these innovative machines,” she continued.

“Hywind will help lower the costs of this young sector, increasing the opportunity for Scotland to take advantage of a significant future global market.”

 

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