The UK’s first floating wind farm is set to be located off the Scottish coast now that the Crown Estate has granted an agreement for lease to Statoil – the Norwegian nationalised oil industry operator – for the next phase of its Hywind project.
The project comprises 5 x 6MW floating turbines operating in waters exceeding 300 ft in depth at a site in Buchan Deep, approximately 15 miles off the coast of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.
At a total capacity of 30 MW, the scheme is set to be the largest floating wind project announced to date in Europe and one of the largest announced worldwide.
The Buchan Deep floating wind farm builds on the success of the first phase of Hywind; the successful demonstration of the world’s first full-scale floating turbine, in operation since 2009 off the coast of Norway.
The Crown Estate – which would be replaced by a new Scottish licensing authority if Scotland votes for Independence in next year’s referendum – and Statoil have been working together closely over the past two years to progress this project, which will further enhance the UK’s position as a global leader in offshore wind technology development. Statoil is now working to secure the necessary consents from Scottish Government.
Scotland and the UK has one of the best offshore wind resources in the world. The site at Buchan Deep will also play an important role in demonstrating that the technology can operate as part of an array as well as showing how knowledge, gleaned from Hywind’s first stage, has been incorporated into the latest designs.
Siri Espedal Kindem, Statoil’s senior vice president for Renewable Energy, told Scottish Energy News: “This is a significant milestone for the Hywind Scotland Pilot Park.
“It represents a new step in the development towards a future floating commercial scale park. We look forward to a progressed dialogue with key stakeholders in Scotland including communities, the local supply chain and the authorities.
“We will continue to mature the Hywind Scotland Pilot Park towards a final investment decision, by conducting marine surveys and concept studies in order to demonstrate technical and commercial feasibility for future offshore floating wind.”
Huub den Rooijen, Head of Offshore Wind at the Crown Estate, said: “Investing in new technologies will be crucial to unlocking offshore wind potential over the long term whilst we continue to focus on the current development pipeline.”
John Swinney, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, said: “Scotland has a huge offshore wind resource but to maximise this opportunity we need to move into deeper water. The lease agreement awarded to Statoil’s Hywind project offers the first step towards harnessing this resource.”
“Scotland manages almost the entire UK seabed as well as renewable energy generation rights on the UK continental shelf.
“We play an active role in supporting growth in the offshore renewable energy industry, leasing seabed for commercial schemes as well as for test and demonstration projects. As well as today’s announcement, we are also running a test and demonstration programme which includes a leasing round for offshore floating wind projects, designed to highlight the commercial viability of the technology and the benefits it can bring beyond 2020.”