With a number of countries switching to electric vehicles from conventional fossil fuel vehicles and the issue of clean energy, much of the world is moving towards renewable energy technologies. Wind turbines have been in play for a great number of years now and more developments are being made everyday. One such development was the offshore wind farms.
The wind is at a higher speed over the ocean and carries more energy that can be converted into usable energy. One of the restrictions of the offshore wind farms is that they have to be placed in relatively shallow water. To overcome this hurdle, the concept of floating wind warms was introduced. Floating turbines have the ability to harvest wind energy over deep waters.
Efforts were being made to establish a floating wind farm for the better part of a decade and the efforts have finally emerged in the shape of Hywind farm, which is the world’s first floating wind farm. It is situated 25 km off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Hywind farm has a capacity to produce 30 MW of energy that will suffice 20,000 homes.
The farm comprises of five wind turbines of 6 MW each, standing at a height of 253 meters, making use of the wind with an average speed of 10 m/s. Even though it does not have a huge energy producing capacity and is 600 MW shy of the London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, its significance is the technology it represents. Where fixed offshore wind farms can work where the depth of the water is 80 meters, floating wind farms can do so at 800 meters. This opens so many new options as sites to establish wind farms.
Hywand farm currently has the turbines floating between 95 and 129 meters depth. Each of the turbines is stabilized with three suction anchors that are all linked together. The energy produced is transported through a cable to the shore at a voltage of 33 kV.
Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of New Energy Solutions at Statoil, the company operating the farm in partnership with Masdar understands the future prospects of the farm, she said “Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to €40 – 60/MWh (US$47 – $71) by 2030. Knowing that up to 80% of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters where traditional bottom fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward.”
The story behind the Hywind Farm can be seen in the video below: