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World’s first floating wind farm performing better than expected

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Cleantechnica

The world’s first floating wind farm, the 30 megawatt Hywind Scotland, is outperforming expectations and operating at levels consistently above that of its seabound offshore brethren, according to project developer Statoil.

First approved by the Scottish Government back in late 2015, the 30 megawatt (MW) Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind farm is made up of five 6 MW wind turbines floating 25 kilometers off the coast of Peterhead, in Scotland.

The project began generating electricity in October of last year, and according to reports it is operating ta an average operating capacity factor of 65 per cent between October and January, much higher than conventional wind farms.

The world’s first floating wind farm, the 30 megawatt Hywind Scotland, is outperforming expectations and operating at levels consistently above that of its seabound offshore brethren, according to project developer Statoil.

First approved by the Scottish Government back in late 2015, the 30 megawatt (MW) Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind farm is made up of five 6 MW wind turbines floating 25 kilometers off the coast of Peterhead, in Scotland. The project began generating electricity in October of last year.

We have tested the Hywind technology in harsh weather conditions for many years and we know it works,” said Beate Myking, senior vice president of offshore wind operations in Statoil. “But putting the world’s first floating wind farm into production comes with some excitement.

Therefore, it is very encouraging to see how well the turbines have performed so far.

“Hywind Scotland’s high availability has ensured that the volume of electricity generated is substantially higher than expected. In addition, it has delivered without any HSE incidents.”

The importance of these results is more than just representative of the success of Hywind Scotland.

“Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources globally are in deep waters (+60 meters) where traditional bottom fixed installations are not suitable, we see great potential for floating offshore wind, in Asia, on the west coast of North America and in Europe,” explained Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president for New Energy Solutions in Statoil.

“We are actively looking for new opportunities for the Hywind technology.”

Source: Cleantechnica. Reproduced with permission.  

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  • Kevfromspace

    Fantastic news. Will be great to see Offshore Energy’s 2GW wind farm installed off the coast of Victoria in a few years’ time. They, too are expecting capacity factors at over 60%, nearing that of a baseload generator. The CEO says that the project can go forward successfully with or without the NEG.

    • Peter Campbell

      And wind is more predictable than coal which can drop out unexpectedly.

  • Pedro

    Quite an engineering feat. How do they stop the turbines from bobbing around, or twisting side ways to the wind or rocking backwards and forwards?

    • Andy Saunders

      Tension leg (large cables down to a seabed anchor) stops the up and down motion. There will be sideways motion, mostly not huge (currents acting against the cables, plus periodic wave motion). There’s little torque, so no twisting (and if there were then the turbine mechanism will keep the blades pointing in the wind direction, even if the tower turns)

    • Farmer Dave

      Tension leg platforms are used in the offshore oil business, although I am not aware of any in Australian waters. I really like the re-purposing of engineering equipment and skills from fossil fuel production to renewable energy production. I see this as a genuine good news story.

      Just to add to Andy’s comment, my understanding is that these installations are described as “tension leg” because the floating turbine base is pulled down in the water column against the buoyancy force. I guess the idea is to pull it down further than the deepest expected wave trough, so the “legs” are always in tension.

      • Pedro

        Thanks will look it up

    • Michael Murray

      Wiki knows all !

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_wind_turbine

      Presumably these things have the advantage that if the climate changes (there are rumours I hear) you can move them relatively easily.

      • Pedro

        I tried looking on their website and not much detail there. So Wiki next. thanks

    • Ren Stimpy

      The deep water they are in will reduce the height of the waves, particularly the big rogue buggers out there.

  • Tim Buckley

    Japan will be watching this with great interest, given their intent to do massive offshore floating wind projects in the coming decade once the technology has been proven up at scale. Some way to go yet, but there is huge potential, and just another risk factor medium term for Australian thermal coal’s #1 export market.

  • Be

    Have they survived any storms yet? This is great tech. Offshore wind is the way to go. some 80% of our energy demand is within 100 miles of a coast. Offshore allows dock construction allowing for much larger turbines and cheaper transport to the site. No need to shut roads down.

  • Roger Franklin

    Well Tony “wind farms are Visually awful” Abbott and Joe “Wind Farms are utterly offensive””Hockey, you will be pleased that these new wind turbines are out of sight and generate more power than those on land…. That is bound to please you!

    Statoil is a Norwegian based company originally focused on the Oil and Gas industry. Fantastic to see the results of their effort to move from an Resources company to an Energy company – utilising their knowledge and skills in renewable energy.