Five massive wind turbines floating in the sea near Scotland have started sending energy to the grid. Statoil, a Norwegian power company, has been working on the 30 megawatt Hywind Scotland project for several years, and it’s now up and running. The wind farm can power around 20,000 homes.
Hywind Scotland is around 15 miles from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. As the farm’s wind turbines are floating, they can be placed in waters far deeper than those of conventional offshore wind farms. The Hywind Scotland turbines are in water depths of as much as 129 meters, or 423 feet – offshore wind turbines that are attached to the seabed are typically in depths of up to 50 meters, or 164 feet.
That figure is important because according to Statoil, 80 percent of potential offshore wind locations have water depths greater than 60 meters. And they think their floating turbines could work in even deeper waters than those of Hywind Scotland. Statoil New Energy Solutions executive vice president Irene Rummelhoff said in a statement, “Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 meters, thus opening up areas that so far have been inaccessible for offshore wind. The learnings from Hywind Scotland will pave the way for new global market opportunities for floating offshore wind energy.”
From blade tip to the surface of the sea, the wind turbines are 175 meters, or around 574 feet, large. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the project puts the country “at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world center for energy innovation.”
Rummelhoff said Statoil plans to keep working on lowering costs of power from the wind farm, down to €40 to €60 per MWh by 2030.
Images via Øyvind Gravås/Woldcam/Statoil and Øyvind Gravås/Statoil