With the world facing an energy crisis, Scotland has found an innovative way. The country has become home to the world’s first floating offshore wind farm. The wind farm located in northern Scotland has started producing electricity. The project named as Hywind is a joint venture between Norwegian Oil Company Statoil ASA and Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. The wind farm consists of five massive turbines floating about 25kms off the northern coast of Scotland near Aberdeen. The wind farm was built at a cost of 200 million pounds ($263 million) and generates 30 megawatts.
The wind farm is a first of its kind for renewable energy in Scotland. The electricity produced would light up more than twenty thousand homes. It would be used to meet the climate change situations. The first time the world saw wind turbines being installed in the sea were in 1990. At that time, the turbines were fitted and bolted to the seabed. However, this was not highly successful as wind turbines can only be installed in shallow waters. Taking them into deep waters makes the cost of installation high and the process more hazardous. But with floating turbines, the problem of shallow and deep waters gets thrown out of the picture. Floating turbines makes it possible in countries like Japan, the U.S. west coast, and Mediterranean, to set up wind turbine farms. In these regions, the seabed drops steeply from the shallow waters of the coast to deep waters.
Hywind turbines can be installed in waters that are as deep as 800 meters. This will open up the opportunities to produce wind energy in areas that were earlier not possible. A part of the energy produced by the turbines would be stored in batteries called Batwind which are lithium devices. These will be used to operate the floating wind farm and regulate the flow of power generated by the wind farm. The company Statoil aims to bring the cost of energy with the help of Hywind floating farm. The company expects to bring the prices as low as 40 to 60 euros per megawatt-hour by 2030.
The floating wind farm is an innovative new technology as compared to the conventional offshore wind farms that are fixed at the bottom of the seabed. It eliminates the setbacks that offshore wind farms face with deep water installations. The new technology is expected to play a significant role in future of renewable energy. The government supports the Hywind project in the form of renewable obligation certificates. Hywind has been given 3.5 ROCs by the current UK government.