Statoil will invest about $236 million in building the Hywind floating wind farm – the first of its kind – to try to make the renewable energy source competitive by 2025.
The company, which has run a single floating offshore turbine for several years in Norway, is planning to build a 30 megawatt pilot project consisting of five floating turbines off the coast near Aberdeen in an area where the water depth is up to 120 metres.
See how Scottish Energy News first reported the story: 2 October 2015
Norwegian oil giant to launch world’s largest floating offshore wind turbine array in Scotland
Floating turbines are built for waters deeper than about 50 metres — the maximum for foundation-based turbines.As well as benefiting from not being limited to shallow waters, floating terminals also tend to attract less opposition over how they look than land-based wind farms.
But the costs of energy produced is higher than for more regular fixed offshore and onshore wind, Statoil said. Speaking in Oslo, Irene Rummelhoff, head of Statoil’s New Energy division, said:
“We don’t want to bet on something that will be reliant on subsidies forever, so we have a clear target to get costs down to a place where it doesn’t need subsidies.
“And we believe that is realistic by the mid-2020s. I think the interest in offshore wind is growing. UK definitely are the leader, but we also see Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and France are coming up with new auctions asking people to compete for new wind areas”.
Statoil’s investment in the project is the first from the oil major’s newly established business division for low carbon and renewable energy.
Portugal and Norway have pioneered the new technology in the past few years with a single floating turbine each, and Portugal plans to build a 25 MW floating wind demonstration farm. Japan also has floating offshore wind projects.