When it comes to renewable energy, the United Kingdom seems to be winning the race. Currently, wind turbines and solar panels provide more than 25-percent of the nation’s total electricity, making it one of the few places in the world where renewables are more widely used than coal. What is more, it will soon be home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, set to be built 25 km off the coast of Peterhead in Scotland.
Known as Hywind, the project, undertaken by Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil, was recently approved by the Scottish government. The development, which is the first of its kind in the UK, will initially include five floating 6 MW turbines, with a total production capacity of 135 GWh of power every year. According to the officials, this would be enough to meet the electricity demands of nearly 20,000 homes. Speaking about the project, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney said:
Hywind is a hugely exciting project, in terms of electricity generation and technology innovation, and it’s a real testament to our energy sector expertise and skilled workforce that Statoil chose Scotland for the world’s largest floating wind farm.
Unlike land-based varieties, the Hywind turbines will be fixed to the ocean floor via a highly-specialized anchoring technique. Interconnected by means of wires, each of these turbines will deliver the generated electricity to the shore with the help of special undersea cables. According to the experts at the Carbon Trust, floating wind farms, like the Hywind, could help reduce the cost of electricity production to around $130-$145 (approx. £85-£95) for every MWh of power. Irene Rummelhoff, the executive vice president at Statoil’s New Energy Solutions, added:
Floating wind represents a new, significant and increasingly competitive renewable energy source. Statoil’s objective with developing this pilot park is to demonstrate a commercial, utility-scale floating wind solution, to further increase the global market potential. We are proud to develop this unique project in Scotland, in a region that has optimal wind conditions, a strong supply chain within oil and gas and supportive public policies.
In recent times, renewable energy sources are slowly overtaking traditional fossil fuels; a step that could eventually aid in reversing environmental degradation. A study, by the International Energy Agency, predicts that over one quarter of the world’s total power will come from renewables by 2020!
Source: The Scottish Government
Image Credits: Inhabitat