World’s largest floating wind farm set for construction off Scottish coast

Five turbines will operate in waters around 12 to 18 miles off the cast of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

The project will begin later this year, with turbines erected in 2017 and the first power generated at the end of next year
The project will begin later this year, with turbines erected in 2017 and the first power generated at the end of next year

Construction on the world’s largest floating wind farm is set to begin this year off the coast of Scotland after developers were granted a lease on Monday.

Five turbines will operate in waters around 12 to 18 miles off the coast of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire as part of the Hywind project.

The project, which will have a total capacity of 30 megawatts, will begin later this year, with turbines erected in 2017 and the first power generated at the end of next year.

The Hywind Scotland Park was given consent from Marine Scotland in October, but before being given the go-ahead, the Crown Estate that manages leasing of the seabed and energy company Statoil had to meet planning, finance and legal requirements.

Rather than using fixed foundations on the seabed, the project will use a floating steel tube tethered to the seabed as a foundation for the turbines.

the project will use a floating steel tube tethered to the seabed as a foundation for the turbines

Offshore wind is a key part of Europe’s target to source 20 per cent of final energy consumption from renewables.

More than 91 per cent of the world’s offshore wind power is currently installed off northern Europe, in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas, and the English Channel.

Presently, offshore wind makes up just three per cent of the global installed capacity, however governments outside of Europe have also set ambitious targets for offshore wind and development is set to get underway in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US. Other markets such as India and Brazil have also expressed interest in offshore development.

"We are very pleased to develop this project in Scotland, in a region with a huge wind resource and an experienced supply chain from oil and gas,” said Project Director Leif Delp. “Through the hard work of industry and supportive government policies, the UK and Scotland is taking a position at the forefront of developing offshore wind as a competitive new energy source.”

Ronnie Quinn, general manager of the Crown Estate in Scotland, said: "Hywind is the first of its kind in the world. Its successful operation will demonstrate the viability of floating wind in deep water locations and bring forward cost reduction techniques that will move the whole sector forward.

"By working to share best practice and deploying our expertise in seabed leasing, we've been able to support the development of emerging technologies, from floating wind to tidal current energy, placing Scotland in a very strong position to secure global investment in low carbon energy."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "With the right political support for offshore wind and other technologies, Scotland is well placed to become the EU's first renewable electricity nation.

"However, if this is to happen then the forthcoming review of Scotland's energy strategy must also include steps to improve energy efficiency, manage demand, and increase energy storage as well as interconnectors."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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