Hywind Scotland, the first floating wind farm in the world, has started delivering electricity to the Scottish grid and the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the wind farm on 18 October.
The 30MW wind farm, operated by Statoil in partnership with Masdar, is located 25 kilometers offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and will power approximately 20,000 households.
The onshore operations and maintenance base is located in Peterhead, while the operations centre is located in Great Yarmouth.
Linked to the project Statoil and Masdar will also install Batwind, a 1MWh Lithium battery storage solution for offshore wind energy, which has the potential to mitigate intermittency and optimise output.
"This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland. Our support for floating offshore wind is testament to this government’s commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil’s Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world centre for energy innovation," Sturgeon said.
Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of Statoil's New Energy Solutions, said that Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 metres, therefore opening up areas that have been inaccessible for offshore wind so far, adding that the learnings from the project will pave the way for new global market opportunities for floating offshore wind energy. According to Rummelhoff, through their government's support to develop the project, the UK and Scotland are now at the forefront of the development of this new technology.
“Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to EUR 40-60 EUR/MWh by 2030. Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 metres) where traditional bottom fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward,” Rummelhoff said.
Over the next decade, floating wind is expected to follow a cost reduction path similar to that of onshore and bottom-fixed offshore wind, making floating wind cost competitive with other renewable energy sources, according to Statoil.
Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said Hywind Scotland is showing that floating wind technology can be commercially viable wherever sea depths are too great for conventional fixed offshore wind power. He pointed out that this opens numerous new geographies and that future opportunities are already being assessed.