The world’s largest floating wind farm – to be located at the Buchan Deep, some 15 miles offshore from Peterhead – is one step closer to becoming reality following The Crown Estate granting a lease to Statoil that will enable construction to commence.
The Hywind Scotland project consists of five 6-MW turbines which will be deployed in deeper water than any previous offshore wind turbines around the coast of Britain.
Rather than using fixed foundations on, or in, the seabed to support the wind turbines, the Hywind project consists of a floating steel tube filled with ballast, which is fastened to the seabed. The project builds on the success of the first phase that involved the construction and operation of the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine off Norway in 2009.
Leif Delp, Project Director, said: “Statoil is proud to develop the world’s first floating wind farm. Our objective with the Hywind pilot park is to demonstrate the feasibility of future commercial, utility-scale floating wind farms.
“This will further increase the global market potential for offshore wind energy, contributing to realising our ambition of profitable growth in renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions.”
The project secured consent from Marine Scotland last October and Statoil has taken the final investment decision to construct the project. Preliminary on-shore and near-shore works will commence later this year and deployment of the turbines is due to begin in 2017, with first power being generated towards the end of the year.
The Crown Estate manages leasing of the seabed. The business’s team uses in-depth knowledge of the offshore renewables sector – covering planning and consenting, finance & commercial, environmental and legal issues – to actively manage the seabed to ensure it is sustainably developed and enjoyed to deliver best value over the long-term.
A spokesman for the Scottish Crown Estate said: “We have been working closely with Statoil, Scottish Government and other partners to help bring forward this innovative project which helps consolidate the position of Scotland and the UK as a global leader in the offshore renewables sector.
“Hywind is the first of its kind in the world. Its successful operation will demonstrate the viability of floating wind in deep water locations and bring forward cost reduction techniques that will move the whole sector forward.
“The granting of Hywind’s lease marks an important milestone for the project. Floating offshore wind is an exciting technology with huge, global potential, and it’s great to have this world first in Scottish waters.
“By working to share best practice and deploying our expertise in seabed leasing, we’ve been able to support the development of emerging technologies, from floating wind to tidal current energy, placing Scotland in a very strong position to secure global investment in low carbon energy.”