Environment

World’s first floating wind farm to be built off Scottish coast

World’s first floating wind fa...
The Hywind Scotland pilot park will be the world's first wind farm with five wind turbines generating six megawatts each
The Hywind Scotland pilot park will be the world's first wind farm with five wind turbines generating six megawatts each
View 6 Images
The Hywind Scotland pilot park will be the world's first wind farm with five wind turbines generating six megawatts each
1/6
The Hywind Scotland pilot park will be the world's first wind farm with five wind turbines generating six megawatts each
The Hywind turbines will share infrastructure such as power cables and transmission facilities
2/6
The Hywind turbines will share infrastructure such as power cables and transmission facilities
The Hywind floating wind turbines will be moored by catenary cables to a single floating cylindrical spar buoy
3/6
The Hywind floating wind turbines will be moored by catenary cables to a single floating cylindrical spar buoy
The Hywind park will take advantage of average wind speeds of around 30 feet (10 meters) per second
4/6
The Hywind park will take advantage of average wind speeds of around 30 feet (10 meters) per second
The Hywind will be located 15 miles (25 km) from shore at a water depth of 310 to 395 feet (95-120 meters)
5/6
The Hywind will be located 15 miles (25 km) from shore at a water depth of 310 to 395 feet (95-120 meters)
A Hywind floating wind turbine has been tested off the Norwegian island of Karmøy for six years
6/6
A Hywind floating wind turbine has been tested off the Norwegian island of Karmøy for six years

In a deal between the Scottish government and Norwegian oil company Statoil, five wind turbines with a capacity of six megawatts each will be set on floating structures some 15 miles (25 km) off the northeast coast of Scotland near Peterhead. The Hywind pilot park, as it's named, is claimed to be the first floating wind farm in the world, and will generate enough power for 20,000 homes with operations expected to start in late 2017.

The 30-MW Hywind park will take advantage of average local North Sea wind speeds of around 19 knots and cover an area of around 1.5 sq mi (4 sq km) at a water depth of 310 to 395 ft (95-120 m).

Floating wind turbines can be placed away from the coast in deeper water as they don't need to be anchored to sea floor-mounted towers, which are typically limited to a water depth of up to 260 ft (80 m). The optimal water depth for fixed turbines is 65 to 165 ft (20-50 m), however two-thirds of North Sea waters are between 160 and 720 ft (49 and 220 m) in depth.

There are several advantages to locating away from shore, including reduced visual pollution – meaning they won't spoil anyone's view, which is a common complaint by some coastal residents. They can also reap the benefits of stronger and more consistent winds typically found farther out at sea since they aren't impeded by land features.

Floating wind farms are also less likely to interfere with fishing or shipping activity, and by stringing the turbines together in a farm, they can share a common infrastructure, such as power cables and transmission facilities.

The Hywind floating wind turbine technology has been in development for six years, with a 2.3-megawatt prototype installed in 720 ft (220 m) of water 6.5 miles (10 km) from the Norwegian island of Karmøy in 2009. It was the first large-capacity floating wind turbine to be put in use. The turbine generates 7.3 GWh, and has ably survived 36 ft (11 m) waves.

Like the turbine off Karmøy, the Hywind Scotland pilot park turbines will be moored by catenary cables to a single floating cylindrical spar buoy. The ballasted catenary adds 60 tons (54 tonnes) of weight hanging from the midpoint of each anchor cable for added tension.

Statoil believes its Hywind floating wind turbine technology will enable greater exploitation of offshore wind resources by allowing expansion into new deep-water areas around the world.

The video below gives an overview of the Hywind pilot park project.

Source: Statoil

The worlds first floating wind farm

6 comments
Daishi
Will all of the data on build costs, power production, maintenance, monitoring etc. be locked under NDA with the companies involved or will (some of) it be available to researchers and universities? It should provide a lot of real world data. It has to be hard to make accurate assumptions about a project like this.
Freyr Gunnar
What happens where there's no wind or not enough wind? Must trains stop, hospitals close, and people stop cooking at home? > The Hywind pilot park, as it's named, is claimed to be the first floating wind farm in the world, and will generate enough power for 20,000 homes with operations expected to start in late 2017 Does that include heating, or just lights?
Nik
What happens if one breaks loose? Megawatts of power being discharged into the sea? It would also pose a significant shipping hazard, not to mention the difficulties in getting a towline fixed to it while its in the middle of a hurricane, and still pumping power into the surrounding water.
tyme2par4
Nice to see an oil company spending money on renewables. And it makes sense in this case, since the have the experience of building drilling platforms. @Nik, It's unlikely they would break loose. They will have multiple mooring lines. And I'm sure they would shut down if the cable ever had a problem, so they wouldn't be "pumping power" into the water. @Freyr, There is almost never no wind off shore. That's the benefit of the location. When wind slows, that's why we have other forms of energy: Nat Gas, Solar, Nuclear as well as energy storage.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Maybe it could eventually be cut loose and become a pelagic farm!
Stephen N Russell
Saw one off Liverpool UK in channel heading into port. Few wind turbines not a huge farm. Liverpool UK