Statoil faces Hywind reckoning

NORWAY: Statoil has withdrawn its plans to develop a pilot 12MW Hywind project on floating foundations off the coast of Maine in north-eastern US waters.

Statoil's Hywind floating turbine being tested off Norway's coast
Statoil's Hywind floating turbine being tested off Norway's coast

The announcement, which had been expected since July when the company suspended work on the project, was made on 15 October. Statoil said it was pulling out because "framework conditions in the state, uncertainty around the commercial framework, and the schedule implications of project delays made the project outlook too uncertain to proceed".

Maine’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the state electricity regulator, had approved a term sheet for Statoil to proceed with the four 3MW turbine project in January 2013.

However, at the same time, the University of Maine was developing a rival 12MW demonstration project, New England Aqua Ventus 1, which aims to use two 6MW turbines mounted on semi-submersible floating foundations.

In July, the state’s senate passed a bill allowing the university to bid to run an offshore pilot prompting Statoil to suspend work on its Hywind project.

This does not spell the end for development of Statoil's Hywind floating spar technology, though. The Norway-based energy company has been testing a 2.3MW Siemens turbine on a floating spar in deep waters off south-east Norway since 2009.

Now Statoil is developing plans to install a floating 30MW test site in 100-metre deep waters, 20 kilometres off the Aberdeenshire coast in north-east Scotland.

It is anticipated the project will use Siemens 6MW turbines but a Statoil spokesperson said the decision has not yet been made as the project is still in its early stages. Siemens was unable to confirm or deny the project would use its turbines.

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