Scotland’s world-first offshore ‘floating’ turbine farm has begun producing energy. 20,000 homes on the mainland will be receiving power from this renewable energy source.

 

The operation has been constructed in Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In a world first the wind turbines have been placed further out to sea than ever before; they are located 25km (15.5 miles) offshore. Why the greater distance you may ask? In an ocean, the deeper the water the more energy there is to be harvested. 

 

The Chief Executive of WindEurope, Giles Dickson, spoke to The Times saying:

“Eighty percent of Europe’s offshore wind potential is in waters 60m and deeper, where bottom-fixed offshore is less attractive. The potential is massive: 4,000GW in Europe alone.”

EIT Stock Image

The Hywind Scotland Farm was constructed by Statoil who, aiming for optimal energy production targeted the deeper ocean waters further out to sea.

Because of the greater water depth the engineers knew that inserting steel rods into the seabed might fail to keep the turbines rigid. They had to come up with another plan. After 16 years the solution was indeed found and the farm finally came to fruition.

 

How to float a turbine

The engineers utilized a technology normally employed in deep offshore oil-rig operations; suction buckets.

The video here illustrates how the ‘suction bucket jacket foundation’ technology works (the inspiration for the Hywind Scotland Farm):

Each turbine at the Scottish installation includes a 90-metre long, 3,500 ton, floating substructure. This gets upended into the ocean after which it is ballasted with 5,000 tons of iron ore. Mooring lines are connected to the seabed and attached to the floating substructure by suction bucket anchors.

Every turbine is a marvel of engineering prowess and precision; each one is a multiple piece turbine puzzle which ultimately creates a renewable source of energy production.

 

What will follow at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire is the installation of a 1MWh lithium-ion battery, placed on-shore. This will store some of the energy received from transmission lines connected to the floating farm.

 

Watch the entire journey of Hywind Scotland’s floating turbines:

 

Works Cited

Megan Geuss - Oct 18, 2017 6:13 pm UTC. “First Floating Wind Farm, Built by Offshore Oil Company, Delivers Electricity.” Ars Technica, 2017, arstechnica.com/science/2017/10/first-floating-wind-farm-built-by-offshore-oil-company-delivers-electricity/. Thanks to Nathalie Thomas and The Financial Times for the image