With the world’s population growing and demand for energy increasing, it’s more important than ever to explore new forms of sustainable energy. International energy company Statoil has taken note of this and, just off the Scottish coast, the company is building the world’s first floating wind farm, Hywind.

Utility scale floating wind productionThe Saipem 7000 loads a turbine onto its floating steel base.

Situated in the North Sea, 25 km east of Peterhead, just north of Aberdeen, Hywind consists of wind turbines floating on cylinders held in place by cables and suction anchors. With large pockets of air, the cylinders extend 78 m below sea level to keep the turbines afloat, much like a ship’s hull.

Like many energy companies, Statoil recognises the importance of climate change and sustainability. In the UK, Statoil has already invested in several offshore windfarms and is developing the capacity to supply over half-a-million homes with sustainable energy. Innovation, the company believes, is the only way forward.

The FWTs for Hywind were constructed off the west coast of Norway, where the 178 m turbines were loaded onto the floating steel cylinders by the world’s second largest crane vessel, the Saipem 7000. After assembly, the floating units were towed across the North Sea to the coast of Scotland before being anchored and connected to a 30 km undersea supply cable taking the power to Peterhead.

“We believe this technology is a game changer,” says Elin Isaksen, communication leader at Statoil. “Lots of shores are actually too deep for conventional turbines, so we believe fixed installations are the only viable alternative in many areas.” Hywind believes that old-fashioned reliability and strength is the key to innovation and sustainability. “It’s not just the UK that is interested in this technology. States like California and Hawaii also have ambitious,” Isaksen adds.

In the long run, production costs of floating wind farms could go down even further as Statoil actively looks to expand its existing supplier network and build a global supply chain.

Extracted form an article by Lauren Razavi.

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