Floating offshore wind farm planned for North Sea

UK: Norwegian company Statoil is planning to build an offshore wind farm using floating turbines developed for its HyWind project off the coast of Scotland or Norway, according to reports.

The Hywind project uses a 2.3MW turbine

The move follows last year’s installation of a test turbine in Norwegian coastal waters with a depth of 220metres. The turbine is a Siemens 2.3MW machine.

Statoil is now looking to expand the trial. It is considering building a five-turbine demonstration scheme on either the coasts of the Isle of Lewis or Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, or off the North Sea coast of Norway.

A Statoil spokesman said: "Statoil is currently running a feasibility study where we evaluate the possibilities of deploying a demo park of three to five windmills off the coast of Scotland."

"Wind parks based on floating structures are not commercially viable in today’s market. We therefore need time and a step-by-step approach to commercialise the concept."

The HyWind pilot project aims to test the technology over two years at a cost of NOK 400 million (€44.1million).

Norway has said it will comply with the spirit of the EU renewable energy directive and boost its renewables share from the record high of 60% to 70% by 2020.

However, its greater focus has been on experimental floating turbine technology, such as the HyWind project and the 10MW floating turbine being developed by SWAY and state enterprise Enova.