Floating Wind Farm to Leverage Oil & Gas Expertise
Spanish fabrication firm Navacel has won the contract for the construction of the Statoil Hywind Scotland wind farm's towers. Each floating tower will be built in four sections, and each will weigh more than 600 tonnes assembled. The towers will support Siemens 6 MW turbines. Delivery is planned for December.
The installation gained final approval from the Scottish government earlier this week, and it is set to become the world's most powerful floating offshore wind park. Statoil project director Leif Delp said that the project's location off Peterhead, Scotland, would benefit from a "huge wind resource and an experienced supply chain from oil and gas." A downturn in the U.K. North Sea offshore oil and gas industry has had a negative effect on the Scottish shoreside supply chain, and Hywind will leverage that existing capacity.
Competitor Principle Power is planning to deploy the concept in several pre-commercial installations, and Hywind may not hold the world's-largest title for long. Among the floating wind tower's other advantages, Principle Power says, its system is capable of installation in most soft seabeds in depths to 3,000 feet deep, using conventional offshore moorings, and it may be fully assembled in drydock and towed out whole to its permanent location. Both features are common to semi-sub offshore rigs. This cuts down on construction costs, enables the use of existing maritime expertise and technology, and enables deployment to locations further offshore.
Several other floating farms are in the works. France has issued a tender for a prototype offshore floating wind farm, and a design by Principle Power is one of several competing bids for the project. The firm has secured approval in principle from BV for the design. Principle is also working with the U.S. state of Oregon on federal approval for a 30MW offshore test installation.