World’s largest floating offshore wind farm gets green light

The Scottish Government has granted a marine licence to the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm.

Developers Statoil propose developing a pilot park of five floating 6 MW turbines which is to be located approximately 25km off the coast of Peterhead with a generating capacity of 135GWh of electricity each year. 

It is expected that the Hywind Scotland development could power up to 19,900 houses. 

Unlike conventional turbines, Hywind turbines will be attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread and anchoring system. 

The Carbon Trust believe that floating wind concepts have the potential to reduce generating costs to below £100/MWh in commercial deployments, with the leading concepts such as Hywind, with even lower costs of £85-£95MWh. 

Welcoming Statoil’s Hywind development after granting consent, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:  “Hywind is a hugely exciting project – in terms of electricity generation and technology innovation – and it’s a real testament to our energy sector expertise and skilled workforce that Statoil chose Scotland for the world’s largest floating wind farm. 

“The momentum is building around the potential for floating offshore wind technology to unlock deeper water sites. The ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the offshore oil and gas industry create the ideal conditions to position Scotland as a world leader in floating wind technology.” 

Statoil’s Executive Vice President for New Energy Solutions, Irene Rummelhoff, said: “Floating wind represents a new, significant and increasingly competitive renewable energy source. 

“Statoil’s objective with developing this pilot park is to demonstrate a commercial, utility-scale floating wind solution, to further increase the global market potential. We are proud to develop this unique project in Scotland, in a region that has optimal wind conditions, a strong supply chain within oil and gas and supportive public policies."

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues