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Published: Sat, October 21, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

The world's first floating wind farm has started production offshore Scotland

The world's first floating wind farm has started production offshore Scotland

Wind turbines have been installed on seabeds since the 1990s.

Earlier this month, scientists in California published research showing floating wind farms in the North Atlantic could generate enough electricity to power the entire world if the cost could be reduced to the point where generating electricity in the middle of the ocean became economically viable.

Rising 175m above the sea and extending 78m below the surface, the turbines are nearly as tall as the Queensferry Crossing over the Firth of Forth.

According to Statoil, recent years have seen significant cost reductions in onshore and bottom fixed offshore wind sectors and floating wind is expected to follow a similar downward trajectory over the next decade.

The Dudgeon offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom, also operated by Statoil has now been completed and is also in production.

Today marks another crucial milestone in the development for offshore wind, and again it is happening in Scotland - the world's first commercial floating wind project.

"In addition to the green benefits of renewable energy, it also has a very significant contribution to make to our economy". The £190m Hywind project is operated by Statoil in partnership with Masdar.

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said Scotland was "the windiest country in Europe" and also had some of the deepest waters, making it perfectly placed to capitalise on the new technology.

Some of the energy generated by the turbines in the sea will be stored in batteries. This will help steady the flow of power generated by the wind farm.

"Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 meters, thus opening up areas that so far have been inaccessible for offshore wind", said Executive Vice President of New Energy Solutions at Statoil Irene Rummelhoff.

The onshore operations and maintenance base for Hywind Scotland is located in Peterhead, while the operations centre is located in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Statoil is also planning to install a large lithium battery array named Batwind to store the energy produced by the turbines, which can regulate their output and cover any shortfalls.

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