Statoil moves on UK floating wind park

Statoil has made the final investment decision to build the world’s first floating wind farm: The Hywind pilot park offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The decision triggers around NOK2 billion investment, realizing a 60-70% cost reduction per MW from the Hywind demo project in Norway.

Statoil will install a 30 MW wind turbine farm on floating structures at Buchan Deep, 25km offshore Peterhead, harnessing Scottish wind resources to provide renewable energy to the mainland. The wind farm will power around 20,000 households. Production start is expected in late 2017.

“Our objective with the Hywind pilot park is to demonstrate the feasibility of future commercial, utility-scale floating wind farms. This will further increase the global market potential for offshore wind energy, contributing to realizing our ambition of profitable growth in renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions,” says Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions.

The pilot park will cover around 4sq km, at a water depth of 95-120m. The average wind speed in this area of the North Sea is around 10m/sec.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney says: “The momentum is building around the potential for floating offshore wind technology to unlock deeper water sites. The ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the offshore oil and gas industry create the ideal conditions to position Scotland as a world leader in floating wind technology."

The onshore operation and maintenance base will be located in Peterhead, also drawing on resources from Statoil’s existing office in Aberdeen.

Hywind is an offshore wind technology developed and owned by Statoil. The concept has been verified through six years of successful operation of a prototype installed off the island of Karmøy in Norway. Hywind with its simplicity in design is competitive towards other floating designs in water depths of more than 100m.

In May, Statoil announced the establishment of New Energy Solutions as a separate business area reporting to the CEO, reflecting the company’s aspirations to gradually complement its oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy and low-carbon solutions. As a starting point Statoil’s existing offshore wind portfolio constitutes the activities in this area. Hywind Scotland is the business area’s first new investment.

Offshore wind already has a strong foothold in Europe with 10GW installed capacity, and a global potential to reach more than 100GW by 2030. With fixed turbines, offshore wind is optimal for 20-50m water depth. With floating structures, further expansion will be enabled in new deep-water areas around the world.

Statoil was the operator in the development phase for the 88 turbine Sheringham Shoal offshore Wind Farm, 20km off the coast of Norfolk. Sheringham Shoal started producing in 2012.

The same year Statoil and Statkraft acquired the nearby Dudgeon offshore wind farm project. Statoil is also partner in the Dogger Bank offshore wind project. In combination, Statoil’s UK offshore wind business has the long term potential to provide competitive low carbon electricity to around 4.5 million UK homes.

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