Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm has begun producing electricity this week as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the 30 megawatt wind farm.
The 30 megawatt (MW) Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind farm was first approved by the Scottish Government back in November of 2015, at which point Statoil was the project developer. Earlier this year, in January, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, Masdar, acquired a 25% stake in the project.
Located 25 kilometers off the coast of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Hywind Scotland is made up of five 6 MW wind turbines which were constructed in Stord, Norway, before being towed to Scottish waters in June. At 30 MW, Hywind Scotland will provide the equivalent amount of electricity as that used by approximately 20,000 Scottish households.
“Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 meters, thus opening up areas that so far have been inaccessible for offshore wind,” explained Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of the New Energy Solutions business area in Statoil. “The learnings from Hywind Scotland will pave the way for new global market opportunities for floating offshore wind energy. Through their government’s support to develop the Hywind Scotland project, the UK and Scotland are now at the forefront of the development of this exciting new technology. Statoil looks forward to exploring the next steps for floating offshore wind.”
The project was officially opened today by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
“I am delighted to open Hywind Scotland — the world’s first floating wind farm,” said the First Minister. “Hywind will provide clean energy to over twenty thousand homes and will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets.”
“This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland. Our support for floating offshore wind is testament to this government’s commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil’s Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world centre for energy innovation.”
Statoil announced in March of 2016 that it would be building a pilot battery storage solution for Hywind Scotland, cheekily named Batwind.
The official launch and beginning of electricity production from the world’s first floating offshore wind farm was unsurprisingly praised by local supporters of clean energy.
“Hywind’s presence in Scottish waters is a reminder that, as the windiest country in Europe, and with some of the deepest waters and most promising offshore wind sites, Scotland is perfectly placed to capitalise on floating turbine technology,” said Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables. “Our unique offshore supply chain and the skillset it supports put us at the forefront of the deployment of these innovative machines.
“That deployment, through sites like Hywind and the Kincardine project further south will help lower costs for this young sector, increasing the opportunity for Scotland to take advantage of a significant future global market,” Mack continued, referring to the 48 MW Kincardine floating offshore wind farm which was approved by the Scottish Government in March.
“With around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource in Scotland, it’s great to see the world’s first floating windfarm inaugurated off our coast,” added Gina Hanrahan, Acting Head of Policy at WWF Scotland. “Offshore wind is already an industrial success story across the UK, cutting emissions, creating jobs and dramatically driving down costs. By demonstrating the commercial viability of floating wind, Scotland can help to develop the industry in new frontiers and deeper waters.
“With this kind of innovation and investment, and continued political support, Scotland will continue to power towards our target of securing half of all our energy needs form renewable sources by 2030.”