The first ever floating wind farm is starting a trial off the north-east coast of Scotland.
This new technology allows wind power to be gathered in water that is too deep for the current bottom-standing turbines that are in waters around the world today.
This new wind farm is called Peterhead but is also known as Hywind. They are manufactured by Statoil and expected to equal or even surpass the amount of power generation from previous turbines. One wind turbine is already in place while four more wait to be deployed by the end of this month.
The towers are 175 metres, weigh 11,500 tonnes and operate in water up to a kilometre deep. The blades are uniquely designed to twist, dampening the motions from the wind and waves, allowing the tower to remain upright. Thick mooring lines tether the turbines to the seabed, allowing them to float without a permanent base.
“This is a tech development project to ensure it’s working in open sea conditions,” said Leif Delp, project director for Hywind. “It’s a game-changer for floating wind power and we are sure it will help bring costs down.”
The technology hopes to take advantage of rising clean energy needs from regions with deep coastal waters such as Japan or the west coast of the US. It may not happen soon though as manufacturing floating wind farms is currently very expensive.
This announcement of new wind farm technology comes on the heels of record-breaking power generation numbers from Scotland’s wind energy sector.
The first half of this year saw enough power generated by wind turbines to power more than three million Scottish homes. This is a 24 per cent increase compared to figures during the same periods over the last two years.
“The first six months of 2017 have certainly been incredible for renewables, with wind turbines alone helping to ensure millions of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon emissions were avoided,” said Sam Gardner, World Wildlife Fund Scotland’s acting director.
Scotland is home to 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind resources.