First floating wind farm takes shape off Scotland

LONDON • A Norwegian company's dream of building the world's first full-scale floating wind turbines is becoming a reality off Scotland.

The wind farm, known as Hywind, is 25km off Peterhead.

When in operation by the year end, it will provide power to 20,000 homes on the Scottish mainland, said the BBC.

After six years of testing a prototype, Norway's Statoil is confident that the new wind farm will be the first of many in waters too deep to anchor conventional wind turbines on the seabed.

Instead, the turbine tower is mounted on a huge, weighted tube that floats 78m deep in the sea, each held in place by three giant underwater mooring lines.

So far, one giant turbine has been floated into place, while four more wait in a Norwegian fjord to be towed, said the BBC.

By the end of the month, they will all have made the four-day journey into place.

The towers that will carry the rotors were built in Spain and assembled at Stord in Norway, each weighing approximately 12,000 tonnes and measuring 253m high from the lowest point on the sub-structure to the tip of the blade, said Statoil.

The firm said the blades harness breakthrough software - which holds the tower upright by twisting the blades to dampen motions from wind, waves and currents.

It hopes to use the technology in deep waters off Japan and the United States west coast.

The company said the price of energy from bottom-standing offshore wind farms has plummeted 32 per cent since 2012, far faster that previously predicted.

The Hywind project costs £190 million (S$337 million), subsidised by the British government.

"It's a game changer for floating wind power and we are sure it will help bring costs down," Mr Leif Delp, project director for Hywind, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'First floating wind farm takes shape off Scotland'. Print Edition | Subscribe