Scotland Officially Opens the World's First Ever Floating Wind Farm

Scotland's Hywind project is officially underway and expected to supply power to over 20,000 homes.
Shelby Rogers

Scotland's floating wind farm project is finally generating off-shore wind power. Officials hope that the installation could give power nearly 20,000 homes. The Hywind project is located 25 km (15 miles) off the coast of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. 

"This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland," said Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. "Our support for floating offshore wind is [a] testament to this government’s commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil’s Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world center for energy innovation."

The turbines are 253 m (approx. 830 ft) tall. Nearly 80 m (256 ft) of that height is submerged. Chains hold the turbine bases in place, weighing a total of 1,200 tonnes (1,323 tons). 

The Hywind project stems from Statoil, one of the world's largest offshore wind companies. Statoil, a Norwegian energy firm, spent over 15 years of development on this particular project. Including the Hywind project, Statoil's offshore wind projects provide renewable energy to over 650,000 homes in the United Kingdom. 

Crown Estate Scotland partnered with Statoil on the Hywinds project. The company leases seabed to renewables developers. 

"It’s fantastic to see Hywind Scotland up and running," said Sian Wilson of Crown Estate Scotland. "The project is a great success for the teams at Statoil and Masdar and for Scotland, where floating wind could really flourish due to our accessible deeper waters. We are committed to continuing our work to encourage floating offshore wind projects, which will in turn drive down costs, benefitting the whole sector—as well as the climate and consumers."

Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil's executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, said, "Through industry and supportive policies, the UK and Scotland is taking a position at the forefront of developing offshore wind as a competitive new energy source."

Rummelhoff also noted in a press release that "Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to € 40-60 €/MWh by 2030. Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 meters) where traditional bottom fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward."

Statoil also has another major UK-based project. The Dudgeon offshore wind farm was recently completed and is in production. Statoil also plans to invest in the Apodi solar power system in Brazil as well as another offshore wind farm in Germany.  


Scotland recently announced its push to become "zero carbon" by 2020. 

"We have a great resource," said Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables. "[We have] Scotland's terrible weather."

In the push toward renewable energies, the country has implemented infrastructure supporting their goals. The Statoil/Hywind project alone created 1,500 jobs within the final field. It's also one of the largest development goals over the last decade in the country. Scotland also boasts the world's first large-scale tidal power farm. The MeyGen tidal stream project operates off of Scotland's northern coast. Current estimates say that the MeyGen project powers up to 175,000 homes.