Norwegian company Statoil is building the world’s largest offshore wind farm near Scotland – and it’s set to start producing energy as early as 2017. The Hywind Scotland Pilot Park wind farm will feature five turbines generating six megawatts of power each.
Statoil has pioneered Hywind turbine technology – a different way to construct wind turbines so they’re sturdy even in stormy ocean conditions. Statoil was an oil company before they pursued wind, and they based their approach to turbine design on oil rigs. Hywind turbines are essentially steel cylinders stabilized by ballast and connected to the ocean floor, making them more economical than traditional offshore wind turbines. Statoil tested their technology with one turbine back in 2009, and they say that the new Pilot Park will “demonstrate cost efficient and low risk solutions for commercial scale parks.”
Statoil Project Director Leif Delp said, “We are very pleased to develop this project in Scotland, in a region with a huge wind resource and an experienced supply chain from oil and gas. Through the hard work of industry and supportive government policies, the UK and Scotland is taking a position at the forefront of developing offshore wind as a competitive new energy source.”
Offshore wind is big in Northern Europe and the UK, with over 90 percent of global total offshore wind built in that region. Yet Japan, China, Germany, and the United States are beginning to enter the race. There are over 40 projects all across the world currently being built or designed.