The Scottish Government has granted a marine licence for a five turbine floating offshore wind farm development.
The Hywind pilot scheme, which will be delivered by Norwegian energy giant Statoil, will see turbines anchored to the seabed by a three-point mooring system near Buchan Deep, roughly 18 miles off the coast of Peterhead.
Statoil said the 30 megawatt (MW) pilot scheme, which would produce enough electricity to power up to 19,900 homes, follows on from the success of a demonstration project off the coast of Norway.
It hopes the pilot scheme, which it expects to begin building in 2017, will demonstrate anchoring as a viable alternative to the more expensive fixed mooring of turbines, and will also allow for wind farm development in deeper waters.
The Carbon Trust believes floating wind farms could reduce overall generating costs of wind energy to below £100 per megawatt hour.
Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, said: Statoil’s objective with developing this pilot park is to demonstrate a commercial, utility-scale floating wind solution, to further increase the global market potential.
“We are proud to develop this unique project in Scotland, in a region that has optimal wind conditions, a strong supply chain within oil and gas and supportive public policies.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Hywind is a hugely exciting project – in terms of electricity generation and technology innovation – and it’s a real testament to our energy sector expertise and skilled workforce that Statoil chose Scotland for the world’s largest floating wind farm.
“The momentum is building around the potential for floating offshore wind technology to unlock deeper water sites.
“The ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the offshore oil and gas industry create the ideal conditions to position Scotland as a world leader in floating wind technology.”
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