Huge suction anchors secure the turbines to the seabed by flexible cables. Each anchor is five meters in diameter and 16 meters tall.
“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. “Through their government's support to develop the Hywind Scotland project, the UK and Scotland are now at the forefront of the development of this exciting new technology.”
The floating turbine technology was first conceptualized in 2001 and a scale-model was used to model-test the concept in 2005 in Trondheim, Norway. The world´s first floating full-scale wind turbine was installed in 2009 in the North Sea.
RELATED: Floating Wind Farms in the North Atlantic Could Power the World
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.
Floating deepwater wind farms in the North Atlantic would produce more electricity than land-based structures because the individual turbines wouldn’t interfere with each other in the way they do on shore, according to the paper, published by researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Wind farms in some parts of the North Atlantic could produce three times as much power as land-based sites, the study found, thanks to the peculiarities of weather patterns over the open ocean. Even the smallest floating wind farm considered in the study — with a footprint of 70,000 square kilometers — could provide all of America’s electricity for 10 months every year.
In a statement, Statoil expressed optimism that the technological challenges could be met.
“In recent years, there have been significant cost reductions in both the onshore and bottom fixed offshore wind sectors,” Statoil said. “Floating wind is expected to follow a similar downward trajectory over the next decade, making it cost competitive with other renewable energy sources.”