Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Norway’s Minister for Energy & Petroleum, Terje Søviknes, attended today’s formal unveiling of the world’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm, a renewable energy project which paves the way for the development of wind energy resources in areas beyond the reach of existing offshore wind technologies, according to Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar.
Government dignitaries at the inauguration of Hywind Scotland were also joined by Khaled Abdulla Al Qubaisi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mubadala Investment Company’s Aerospace, Renewables & Information Communications Technology platform, and Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, a 25 per cent shareholder in the wind farm alongside Statoil of Norway.
The completion of Hywind Scotland, together with next month’s inauguration of the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of eastern England, brings the total power generating capacity of the UK-based renewable energy projects in which Masdar is an investor to more than 1 gigawatt (GW).
Further optimising the output of the wind park by mitigating the intermittency of wind energy, Hywind Scotland will also be connected to a 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) lithium battery. Once installed, the Batwind storage solution will have the same battery capacity as 2 million smart-phones.
“Masdar has a long-standing commitment to renewable energy in the United Kingdom, and we are immensely proud to deliver our first project in Scotland alongside our partners,” said Mohamed Al Ramahi of Masdar.
“Hywind Scotland is showing that floating wind technology can be commercially viable wherever sea depths are too great for conventional fixed offshore wind power. This opens up a number of new geographies, and we are already looking at future opportunities with our partners, building on our existing international portfolio in wind energy and solar power.”
Al Ramahi said: “The addition of the Batwind battery storage solution adds another exciting dimension to the project by supporting the advancement of a technology with the potential to further improve efficiencies and lower costs for offshore wind.”
Floating around 25 kilometres off the coast of Aberdeenshire in water depths of 95-120 metres, Hywind Scotland is now supplying electricity to an estimated 20,000 British households. The project’s five wind turbines, each with a capacity of six megawatts (MW), were secured into place in August after being towed across the North Sea from Norway.
Hywind Scotland is Masdar’s third UK-based wind farm. It joins the world’s largest offshore wind power development currently in operation, the 630MW-capacity London Array, and the 420MW Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, which will be officially launched in November.
Besides Hywind Scotland, Masdar is a partner with Statoil in Dudgeon, and the two companies have pledged to collaborate on future renewable energy projects. Statoil owns 75 per cent of Hywind Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, delivered opening remarks at today’s inauguration, followed by speeches by the Norwegian energy minister Terje Søviknes, Irene Rummelhoff, Executive Vice President of Statoil, and Mohamed Al Ramahi of Masdar.
“I am delighted to open Hywind Scotland – the world’s first floating wind farm. Hywind will provide clean energy to over 20,000 homes and will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets. This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland. Our support for floating offshore wind is a testament to this government’s commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil’s Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world centre for energy innovation,” remarked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The inauguration concluded with a panel discussion of the potential long-term impact of Hywind Scotland. Taking part in the panel were Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy; Irene Rummelhoff of Statoil; Tom Delay, CEO of Carbon Trust; and Yousif Al Ali, Director for Business Growth at Masdar.
“Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 metres, 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.
“Through their support to develop the Hywind Scotland project, the UK and Scottish governments are now at the forefront of the development of this exciting new technology. Statoil looks forward to exploring the next steps for floating offshore wind,” says Irene Rummelhoff, Executive Vice President of the New Energy Solutions business area in Statoil.
The cost of floating wind power technology is expected to follow a similar downward trajectory to that of onshore and bottom-fixed offshore wind power. According to Statoil, the overall offshore wind sector has the potential to grow from a global capacity of 13GW in 2015 to more than 100GW by 2030, with floating wind technology accounting for a significant share of that expansion.
In addition to its assets in the UK, Masdar has implemented renewable energy projects in photovoltaic solar power, solar thermal energy and onshore wind energy in mainland Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Masdar’s 25 per cent stake in Hywind Scotland was announced during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2017. ADSW is a platform for driving the commercialisation of renewable energy, clean technologies and water sustainability solutions. On January 13-20, 2018 world leaders, policy makers, thought leaders, experts, business leaders and academics will come together to discuss, debate, and ultimately address the energy and sustainability challenges of the future.