World’s first floating offshore wind farm takes off

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Statoil’s floating offshore wind turbine Hywind project started generating electricity during October in a world first, providing power to around 20,000 homes.

The five turbine 30MW project uses Siemens’ wind turbines, each 175m tall with a 78m ‘foundation’ spar filled with ballast and tethered to the sea bed, situated around 15 miles east off the Peterhead coast.

15 years in the making

Statoil have been developing the concept of floating turbines for over 15 years. The project is seen as a critical step in the ‘industrialisation’ of floating wind turbine technology, with the ‘levelised’ electricity production costs of the technology expected to fall to around 40-60 Euro/MWh by 2030.

Statoil sees floating wind electricity generation as becoming a significant contributor to the global offshore wind power market, potentially providing around 10% of an estimated 100GW of global offshore wind capacity by 2030.

The technology could be deployed at up to 800m sea depth, creating the potential for a major expansion in offshore electricity generation. Currently the Hywind project is operating at sea depths up to 129m with typical fixed turbines installed in depths up to 50m.

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