Word’s first floating offshore wind farm now open

The Hywind Scotland floating wind farm (Photo: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam - Statoil ASA) The Hywind Scotland floating wind farm (Photo: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam - Statoil ASA)
Industry Database

The world's first floating wind farm, Statoil's Hywind project, has been officially opened by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Statoil and Masdar’s Hywind floating offshore wind project is a 30-megawatt farm at Buchan Deep, 25km from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. The five turbines are 253 metres tall, with 78 metres submerged beneath the sea, anchored by cables to the sea bed to provide power to around 20,000 households.

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

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at the opening: “This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland.  Our support for floating offshore wind is testament to this government’s commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil’s Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world centre for energy innovation.”

The onshore operations and maintenance base for Hywind Scotland is located in Peterhead, while the operations centre is located in Great Yarmouth. Linked to the Hywind Scotland project Statoil and partner Masdar will also install Batwind, a 1MWh Lithium battery storage solution for offshore wind energy. Battery storage has the potential to mitigate intermittency and optimise output.

In recent years, there have been significant cost reductions in both the onshore and bottom fixed offshore wind sectors. Floating wind is expected to follow a similar downward trajectory over the next decade, making it cost competitive with other renewable energy sources.

“Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to € 40-60 €/MWh by 2030. Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 metres) 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,” added Rummelhoff.

Hywind Scotland is adding to Statoil’s strong UK presence, and over the last few years Statoil’s footprint has grown in the UK. In Aberdeen over 1500 are employees in the final phase of commissioning the Mariner oil field, one of the largest upstream UKCS developments in the last ten years, due to come onstream in 2018.

Statoil already has a sizeable renewables portfolio with an offshore wind portfolio with the capacity of providing over 1 million homes with renewable energy. 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. Statoil recently announced the acquisition of a 40% share in the construction ready 162MW Apodi solar asset in Brazil.

Also commenting, Claire Mack, Chief Executive of trade body Scottish Renewables, said: “Hywind’s presence in Scottish waters is a reminder that, as the windiest country in Europe, and with some of the deepest waters and most promising offshore wind sites, Scotland is perfectly placed to capitalise on floating turbine technology.

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

“That deployment, through sites like Hywind and the Kincardine project further south will help lower costs for this young sector, increasing the opportunity for Scotland to take advantage of a significant future global market.”

By Jake Frith

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