World’s first floating wind-turbine farm survives 100-mph gale in first offshore winter storm in Scotland with 65% load factor

A Hywind floating turbine at Buchan Deep, off Peterhead,
A Hywind floating turbine at Buchan Deep, off Peterhead.

The world’s first floating wind farm – anchored in the Buchan Deep off Peterheid – has survived its first winter hurricane and wave-heights of more than 25-ft and achieved an average capacity factor of 65%.

During the winter, when the wind is at its strongest, the typical capacity factor for an bottom fixed offshore wind farm averages between 45% and 60%.

A capacity factor of 100 % means all wind turbines have generated at maximum output every second of the day.

The 30MW wind farm, operated by Norway’s state-owned oil corporation is located 15 miles offshore Aberdeenshire and generates electricity for some 20,000 households.

Hywind Scotland’s first encounter with harsh weather conditions was hurricane Ophelia in October 2017 when wind speeds of 80-mph were recorded. These wind speeds were surpassed during Storm Caroline in early December when gusts in excess of 100-mph and waves in excess of 8 meters were recorded.

Whilst the wind turbines shut down for safety reasons during the worst of these winds, they automatically resume operation promptly afterwards. A pitch motion controller is integrated with the Hywind turbine’s control system and will adjust the angle of the turbine blades during heavy winds which mitigates excessive motions of the structure.

Statoil and its Arab partner Masdar aim to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to €40-€60-MWh by 2030, which would make it cost-competitive with other renewable energy sources.

While foreign-owned organisations such as Hy-wind (there’s a clue in the name)  or private-sector developers – such as Atlantis Resources and its Meygen tidal turbine array on the sea-bed of the Pentland Firth – are thriving (well) above and/or below the waves.

Meanwhile, the Scot-Govt’s troubled Scottish Energy Strategy continues to pour virtually all of its Scottish taxpayers’ money in as yet fruitless surface-based wave-power machines where the harsh physical and financial climate has commercially sunk the nascent Scots wave energy industry.


Meanwhile, fellow Norwegian generator Statkraft has sold its 40 per cent shareholding in the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm and its 50 per cent shareholding in the Triton Knoll offshore wind project in the UK and is in the process of completing its disposal of the 30% stake in the Dudgeon offshore wind-turbine parc in line with its strategy to divest offshore wind assets.

Instead, Statkraft is actively exploring new business within hydropower, solar power and other opportunities within renewable energy while Silva Green Fuel – a company owned by Statkraft and Södra – is to build a new demonstration plant for advanced biofuel in Norway.

16 Feb 2018

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