The construction of the world's largest floating wind farm has been approved off the coast of Peterhead in Scotland, Scottish Government announced on November 2, 2015.
The UK's first floating wind development, Hywind, will be built about 25 km (15.5 miles) off the shores of Peterhead, near Buchan Deep, and attached to the local seabed by a three-point mooring spread and anchoring system. The five floating 6 MW Hywind turbines are expected to generate capacity of 135 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity annually, which is estimated enough to power up to 19 900 houses.
The turbines will be connected by an inter-array of cables and an export cable will transport electricity from the pilot park to shore at Peterhead. The project will be carried out by Statoil, the leading Norwegian energy company in oil and gas production.
"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," Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions Irene Rummelhoff said.
In general, the wind development concept holds the potential of reducing generating costs to below £100/MWh in commercial deployments, with the leading concepts such as Hywind lowering the costs to £85 - £95 MWh, according to the Carbon Trust.
"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," Deputy First Minister John Swinney stated.
"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."
On October 29, only a couple of days before the Scottish Government announced the project, DONG Energy company from Denmark made public its decision to construct the 660 MW Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea, claiming it is set to become the world's largest offshore wind farm, as well.
"Walney Extension will deliver clean electricity to more than 460 000 UK homes and I'm very glad that we can now start construction of what will be the world's biggest offshore wind farm when completed. Building this offshore wind farm will bring us significantly closer to realising our strategy of having 6.5GW of installed capacity online by 2020," Samuel Leupold, Executive Vice President at DONG Energy, stated.
The energy farm will be located about 19 km (11.8 miles) off the coast of Cumbria, in North West England.
DONG Energy is set to deploy the 40 MHI Vestas Offshore Wind 8 MW and 47 Siemens 7 MW offshore turbines. When this project is complete, along with the company's undergoing projects set to construct 2 080 MW of offshore wind capacity in the UK and Germany, the group will have built a total of 5 089 MW, which equals to the annual electricity consumption of more than 12.5 million residents in Europe.
This does sound like good news for electricity consumers Europe-wide, regardless of which supplier becomes the world's largest at the end of the race.
Video credit: Statoilasa
Featured image: Statoil's floating wind turbine concept, Hywind. Image credit: Statoilasa