The world’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm will provide power to 20,000 homes on the Scottish mainland when the six turbines are anchored off the coast of Peterhead and plugged into the national grid by the end of this year.
Norway’s Statoil – which has developed the Hywind devices – is confident that the new wind farm will be the first of many in waters too deep to anchor conventional wind turbines on the seabed.
Instead, each turbine tower is mounted on a huge, weighted tube which floats 78m deep in the sea, each held in place by three giant underwater mooring lines.
So far, one giant turbine has been floated into place, while four more wait in readiness in a Norwegian fjord to be towed to Scotland.
The towers that carry the rotors were built in Spain, with four tower sections that connect the turbine with the substructure.
The windmills are assembled at Stord in Norway, each weighing approximately 12,000 tonnes and measuring 253m high from the lowest point on the substructure to the tip of the blade – higher than the Big Ben clock tower in London.
Statoil said the price of energy from bottom-standing offshore wind farms has plummeted 32 per cent in the past five years.
The Hywind project costs of £190 million pounds have been subsidised by the British government.
Leif Delp, project director for Hywind, said: “It’s a game-changer for floating wind power and we are sure it will help bring costs down.
“There’s an abundance of wind energy around the UK that has previously been ‘out of reach’ because the seabed is too deep to build rooted structures on.”
26 July 2017