Hywind Scotland will begin building what will become the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm. The initial pilot project will consist of five turbines generating 30 MW, capable of powering nearly 20,000 homes.The wind farm will be 12 miles offshore, presumably far enough out that NIMBYs with delicate sensibilities will not be able to complain about it.
Floating turbines can be sited in deeper water, further offshore, where fixed turbines can not be. Thus, once the technology becomes mature and tested, floating offshore wind turbines can be installed around the planet and will be cost-competitive with carbon-based electricity
The development, known as Hywind Scotland, differs from conventional offshore windfarms by using turbines attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread and anchoring system. The turbines are interconnected by cables, one of which exports electricity from the pilot farm to the shore at Peterhead.
Research from the Carbon Trust has suggest that floating wind concepts could potentially reduce generating costs for offshore developments.
Last month the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) released a report indicating that floating offshore wind could be a credible, cost-effective form of low-carbon energy for the UK by the mid-2020’s.