Some people thought we were crazy when we put a giant wind turbine on top of a floating spar structure and towed it out to sea. But it turned out to be the future, and the future is now.
This year we’re making a giant leap forward as we install and start producing electricity from the world’s first floating wind farm. The 30 MW Hywind Scotland pilot park will demonstrate the feasibility of future commercial floating wind farms that could be more than four times the size. This will further increase the global market potential for offshore wind energy, contributing to realising Statoil’s ambition of profitable growth in renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions.
The world’s first floating
Hywind Scotland—the world’s first floating offshore wind park
Around 15 GW of bottom-fixed offshore wind power has already been successfully installed globally, with significant cost reductions in recent years. Statoil is already a key player in this sector, with assets in production and construction in the UK and Germany.
Compared with bottom-fixed installations, floating substructures can be deployed in deeper waters, often further from shore, opening vast new areas and markets for offshore wind. Floating offshore wind will benefit from the technological advances and cost reductions achieved within the bottom-fixed segment.
This year, Statoil is putting all the pieces together that will make up the 30 MW Hywind Scotland wind farm. After assembly at Stord, the five turbines will be towed to Buchan Deep, 25 kilometres offshore Peterhead in Scotland.
Strong market outlook for floating wind
Entering into offshore wind was a natural move for Statoil, and an opportunity for us to capture synergies between our renewable and the oil and gas activities. We are taking our decades of offshore experience and applying our project execution capabilities to develop large-scale offshore wind farms safely and efficiently.
Offshore wind already has a strong foothold in Europe with 10 GW installed capacity, and a global potential to reach more than 100 GW by 2030. Fixed turbines are ideal for developing offshore wind in water depths of 20–50 metres. With floating structures, wind power can expand into new deep-water areas around the world—and Statoil is at the forefront of developing this market. The cost reductions we have accomplished since the demo was in place makes floating windmills even more interesting.
FLOATING OFFSHORE WIND MARKET OUTLOOK
The supplier puzzle
Hywind Scotland could probably best be described as a puzzle. Bits and pieces from all around Europe, some made especially for the project, others straight from the supplier’s shelves. For example the blades and nacelles have been brought from Denmark, the substructures from Spain, and it all comes together at Stord in the western part of Norway.
Assembled and ready to go, the wind turbines will be towed in place. This time the location is Scotland, but who knows where we go next.