The Scottish Government announced this week that it has approved a floating offshore wind farm which would see eight 6-megawatt wind turbines installed off the coast of Aberdeen, in the country’s northeast.
Planning consent was granted by the Scottish Government for the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm, a floating offshore wind farm which would be made up of eight 6-megawatt (MW) wind turbines. Set to be located approximately 15 kilometers off the south-east coast of Aberdeen, in Scotland’s northeast, the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm will be able to generate up to 50 MW — enough to power the equivalent of around 56,000 homes, and prevent carbon dioxide emissions of around 94,500 tonnes per year.
“Once operational, this pioneering, 50 MW Kincardine Offshore Windfarm will produce enough electricity to power almost 56,000 homes and will create jobs and investment across Scotland through the use of our supply chain,” said Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, MSP. “It will also cement our place as one of the world’s leading nations in the innovation and deployment of floating offshore wind. If the technology can be demonstrated at scale, it has huge potential to help Scotland meet its energy needs and to develop a supply chain that can service opportunities elsewhere in Europe and in markets such as South East Asia and North America.”
The project is also billed to create approximately 110 jobs during the assembly, installation, and throughout the ongoing operations and maintenance of the project.
According to Atkins, an engineering and project management consultancy which is working with Kincardine Offshore Windfarm and which conducted the environmental scoping assessment, the project would be a “pilot-scale demonstrator offshore wind farm utilising a semi-spar floating foundation technology, which will demonstrate the technological and commercial feasibility of floating offshore wind.”
Floating offshore wind presents the possibility of opening up new avenues for how offshore wind projects can move forward, minimizing or outright removing constraints such as water depth. Currently, offshore wind farms are relegated to a sort of Goldilocks zone — not too close to the shore, but not too far out to sea. The first part of that is obvious — to many people complaining about offshore wind turbines ruining the view. However, the further out to sea you get the more expensive, dangerous, and difficult it gets to install and operate offshore wind turbines due to the depth of the seafloor and the violence of the weather.
Floating offshore wind farms could mitigate that, somewhat, by going even further out to sea and not having to worry as much about seafloor depth.
“The continued development of floating turbines in Scotland is encouraging as it could enable us and other nations to secure even more clean power from offshore wind,” said Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland. “One thing is clear, if we are to meet our future climate and energy targets we will certainly need both more onshore and offshore wind in the future.
“With the right political support for offshore wind and other technologies, Scotland can remain on course to secure half of all its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.”
“Scotland is home to approximately 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resource and we are now starting to build out projects which will harness this potential,” added Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “We’re also at the forefront of innovation in this exciting sector and projects like this one are part of a new chapter for our renewable energy industry.”
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