The operators of what may be the largest offshore floating wind energy development gained licensing approval from the Scottish government.
Norwegian energy company Statoil earned the license for its Hywind pilot project off the coast of Aberdeen that envisions up to five turbines installed by an anchoring system that developers said would facilitate deep-water installation.
“Hywind is a hugely exciting project in terms of electricity generation and technology innovation,” Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney said. “The momentum is building around the potential for floating offshore wind technology to unlock deeper water sites.”
At full capacity, the company said the floating installation could generate 135 megawatts of power annually, enough to meet the energy demands of 20,000 average homes.
The Carbon Trust, a company working in a non-profit way to usher in a low-carbon economy, said a floating wind facility could cuts costs by up to $150 per megawatt when used in commercial operations.
“Floating wind represents a new, significant and increasingly competitive renewable energy source,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s vice president in charge of new energy solutions.
Construction is on schedule for 2017. Electricity generated from the floating wind turbines would send electricity about 15 miles through a subsea cable to a pilot facility on the Scottish coast.