Norwegian oil and energy group Statoil has held discussions with Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, about the possibility of developing the world’s first floating windfarm off the Scottish coast. Two potential sites, one off the coast of Lewis and the other off Aberdeenshire, have been identified as suitable for a pilot park for Statoil’s Hywind floating turbines.
Statoil’s Hywind concept combines known technologies in a completely new setting and opens up the possibility for capturing wind energy in deepwater environments. The floating structure consists of a steel cylinder filled with a ballast of water and rocks. It extends 100 metres beneath the sea’s surface and is attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread. The wind turbine can be placed at ocean depths of between 120 and 700 metres
Statoil has already constructed a full scale prototype Hywind unit, off the coast of Norway, which has delivered power to the grid since September 2009.
Scottish Development International and Marine Scotland have been working closely with Statoil to test the feasibility of a similar project in Scottish waters.
Green Sea Energy
“Scotland has unrivalled marine resources and, with massive offshore wind potential, we are leading the way in the generation of clean, green energy from the sea,” points out Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond. “Our waters are estimated to have as much as a quarter of Europe’s potential offshore wind energy and we are perfectly positioned to develop the technology that will power this remarkable renewables revolution.”
Indeed, a recent study suggests that harnessing just a third of Scotland’s practical resource off the coast by 2050 would generate enough electricity to power the country seven times over.
Scotland has already pioneered the development of deepwater offshore wind with the highly successful Beatrice Offshore Wind Demonstrator in the Moray Firth which enabled the UK Round Three and Scottish Territorial Waters offshore wind sites to be offered in water depths up to 60 metres.
“The Hywind II wind farm project would see a Scotland-Norway collaboration push the boundaries of deepwater offshore wind beyond the 100m mark and open up vast areas of the world ‘s oceans to the development of wind energy for the first time,” adds Alex Salmond.