The UK has particularly focused on renewable energy recently, after having its first coal-free day in April this year and its ‘greenest’ summer to date.
Now, Scotland’s energy grid will now be able to benefit from a unique source of wind energy, coming from the world’s first floating wind farm.
Located off the coast of Peterhead, in Aberdeenshire, the Hywind Scotland wind farm is a 30MW installation.
The company behind the installation, Norwegian oil company, Statoil, said that at its peak capacity, it should be able to produce enough energy to power 20,000 homes.
Hywind Scotland began producing power back in September, but today marks the first day it will start delivering electricity to the Scottish energy grid. The project cost around $263m to construct.
How do the wind turbines float?
The wind turbines at Hywind Scotland are held in place using three giant suction anchors, which are usually used in offshore drilling, something Statoil is known for.
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The wind turbine towers, which stand 176m above the water, are moored to the anchors. Cables running from each of the towers will deliver electricity to a power station on land.
Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of Statoil’s New Energy Solutions business area, said in a statement:
“Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 meters, thus opening up areas that so far have been inaccessible for offshore wind. The learnings from Hywind Scotland will pave the way for new global market opportunities for floating offshore wind energy.”
Wind turbines need batteries
In order to store the energy created from the wind farm, Statoil is teaming up with Dubai-based renewable energy company Masdar to install Batwind. Batwind is a 1MWh lithium battery storage solution.
Battery storage is seen as a key way to increase the efficiency of renewable energy sources. Elon Musk’s Tesla has been establishing huge battery storage farms in places like Hawaii and South Australia.
The multiple uses of lithium for applications like batteries has led to the development of a Cornwall-based startup, Cornish Lithium, who will use a $1.3m investment to mine lithium in the UK.
According to Rummelhoff, Hywind’s technology could be used in other offshore spots to grow offshore wind farms in the next couple of years.
“Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to € 40-60 €/MWh by 2030. Knowing that up to 80 percent of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 meters) 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,” she said.