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Floating wind farm emerges off Scottish coast
© L.C. Nøttaasen

Floating wind farm emerges off Scottish coast

24/07/17Energy

The world’s first full-scale floating wind farm has begun construction off the northeast coast of Scotland.

The technology aims to allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for current conventional bottom-standing turbines.

The Peterhead wind farm, known as ‘Hywind’, is a trial which will bring power to 20,000 homes.

Manufacturer Statoil says output from the turbines is expected to equal or surpass the generation from current ones.

Leif Delp, project director for Hywind, said: “This is a technology development project to ensure it’s working in open sea conditions. It’s a game-changer for floating wind power and we are sure it will help bring costs down.”

Currently, one turbine has already been moved into place, while four more wait in a Norwegian fjord.

By the end of July they’ll all have been towed 25km off Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, where they’ll float upright.

Delp said: “I think eventually we will see floating wind farms compete without subsidy – but to do that we need to get building at scale.”

The Hywind project is being run in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi firm Masdar. The £190m (~€212m) cost was subsidised by bill-payers under the UK government’s Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

The conservation charity RSPB Scotland opposed the project as it fears thousands of sea birds may be killed by the offshore wind farms.

The RSPB’s Aidan Smith said: “Generally we are very enthusiastic about floating wind technology because it allows turbines to be placed far offshore – away from seabird nesting sites, and it helps us tackle climate change.

“We oppose the Hywind project because it adds to a situation we already believe is a problem.”

Pan European Networks Ltd