£200m floating windfarm takes to the seas
Five turbines to be used in the Hywind floating windfarm project - the first of its kind in the world - have taken to the waters of the Norwegian fjords.
The turbines are currently floating just off the western coast of Norway and will be dragged across the North Sea to the project’s location - a seabed off north-east Scotland.
The windfarm will be the first to use pioneering technology to generate renewable power using the expanses of the ocean.
Expected to cost in the region of £200 million, the project’s turbines will be kept upright using a 78-metre-tall underwater ballast and a number of mooring lines that will attach to the seabed.
The Norwegian developer behind the revolutionary windfarm, Statoil, says this technology created a significant new resource of windpower for the oil company.
Head of the oil firm’s low-carbon division, Irene Rummelhoff, said: “As a company we are seeking ways to diversify away from carbon-based fuels.
“With new technology like this, the possibilities now are almost unlimited. At the moment, floating windfarms can be put in water that is between 100 and 700 metres deep, but this now opens up parts of the ocean that were unavailable before,” she added.
The North Sea has become a hotbed for offshore windfarms in recent times, with its shallow waters meaning turbines are able to be mounted on steel poles fixed to the seabed.
Bottom-fixed turbines like this can only be installed when the depth of water is 40 metres or less; making the coastlines of the US west coast or Japan largely unviable for offshore windfarms.
However, floating windfarms have the benefit of not only opening up potential new seas, such as the Atlantic and Mediterranean, but also limiting the risk of aesthetic objections due to their ability to be placed farther out from the coast.
The Hywind floating windfarm project will provide power to around 20,000 homes.