Scotland eyes first floating wind farm

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond this week met Norwegian oil company Statoil to discuss the possibility of developing the world’s first floating wind farm in Scotland. Statoil has identified two […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond this week met Norwegian oil company Statoil to discuss the possibility of developing the world’s first floating wind farm in Scotland.

Statoil has identified two potential sites, one off the coast of Lewis and the other off Aberdeenshire, that could be suitable for a pilot park to test its Hywind floating turbines.

Statoil has already constructed a full scale prototype Hywind unit, anchored 10 kilometres offshore at Karmøy in Norway, which has delivered power to the Norwegian grid since September last year.

Scottish Development International and Marine Scotland have been working with Statoil to support the current feasibility studies for such a project in Scotland, which could open the doors to the development of full-scale floating wind farms in deep water.

Statoil will be visiting Scotland again next month to investigate the potential of these possible sites further.

Mr Salmond said: “The meeting with Statoil was very positive, building on Scottish Development International’s ongoing engagement with the company. This is exciting technology and I was extremely interested to hear more about the ongoing success of Hywind, and about Statoil’s future plans for the project.

“I also highlighted with Statoil the wider opportunities in marine energy through our £10m Saltire Prize, one of the largest innovation prizes ever, which has been designed to stimulate global interest and advance the international development of wave and tidal energy generation.”

Scottish Development International interim chief executive David Smith said: “Scottish Development International is pleased to be working to secure further investment from Statoil into Scotland in the shape of their Hywind II floating turbine array project. The future global market for this technology will be enormous and this project offers the opportunity for Scottish and Norwegian companies to work together to develop a cutting edge system capable of lowering the cost of offshore wind development and delivering clean sustainable energy worldwide.”