The world’s first floating windfarm is to take shape on the seabed off north-east Scotland. The £200m Hywind project will see turbines towed from fjords in Norway to create the renewable energy farm.
The idea is that the floating windfarms will allow turbines to be housed in much deeper waters, opening up offshore wind capacity in other countries. This first project is planned to be operational by October at the latest in Peterhead.
The Hywind project is a relatively small one in terms of offshore wind projects, but will still produce enough energy to power around 20,000 homes. The main benefit of a floating windfarm is the huge increase to windfarm capacity it can offer. At present, the North Sea is popular for windfarms as the relatively shallow waters can house fixed turbines up to 40 metres below the sea. However, floating turbines won’t be restricted to such shallow proximity, so there’s scope for more turbines in more offshore areas across the world.
This could see floating turbines eclipse fixed-bottom turbines in the long term, and see wind power as a huge energy contender for both businesses and consumers.
Statoil, the company behind the first floating windfarm, has said that floating wind would be the same cost as conventional offshore windfarms by the end of the next decade. A generous subsidy deal from the Scottish Government has made the Hywind project viable today, and it’s a huge step forward in shifting from nuclear to renewable energy.