World’s First Floating Wind Farm
The world’s first floating offshore wind farm started delivering electricity to the grid in the north of Scotland. Scotland has become the first country in the world to start the floating wind farm.
Scotland’s new floating wind farm has officially started generating off-shore wind power. The installation could potentially power about 20,000 homes. Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, ceremoniously kicked off the Hywind project, located about 25 km (15 miles) off the shores of the Scottish town of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is cutted the ribbon on the renewable energy site in an on-land ceremony -- which is capable of pumping 30 megawatts of clean electricity into the grid. In more human terms, that's enough to power approximately 20,000 homes. The turbines of Hywind Scotland stand 253 meters tall in total (around 830 feet), with 78 meters (256 feet) of that bobbing beneath the surface, tethered to the seabed by chains weighing 1,200 tonnes.
The farm consists of five enormous wind turbines that stand about 830 feet tall (256 feet of that bobs beneath the water's surface).Dubbed the Hywind project, renewable energy advocates hope it can serve as a model for other regions that are capable of implementing the same technology.Wind turbines have been installed on seabeds since the 1990s. Taking them offshore typically increases wind speeds and reduces complaints from neighbors, but it has also been limited to relatively shallow seas. Floating turbines are expected to open the industry up to new markets like Japan, the U.S. west coast and Mediterranean, where seabeds drop off steeply from the coast.Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 meters, thus opening up areas that so far have been inaccessible for offshore wind. the concept of a floating turbine was hatched by energy engineers in 2001. A single prototype was created in 2009, and by 2015, the Scottish government officially provided funding for Statoil to begin working on the five wind turbines now standing in the North Sea.Each turbine is capable of pumping 6 megawatts of energy into the grid, meaning the project can contribute 30 megawatts in total. When not used, all this power is stored in lithium batteries, which have a capacity of more than two million iPhones.
Energy is renewable if it is derived from natural processes and replenished more rapidly than expended. The Renewable Energy Directive lists the following renewable fuels:
• Wind, solar and hydro energy
• Bioenergy (energy from combustion of plant and animal matter)
• Waste energy, such as landfill gas
• Aerothermal, geothermal and hydrothermal energy (heat from the air, ground and water, respectively)
There is major overlap between the categories of renewable and low-carbon energy: both exclude fossil fuels—oil, coal and natural gas—which are finite and emit high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. However, not all renewable energy is low-carbon (and vice-versa). For example, nuclear electricity is low-carbon but not renewable (as its primary fuel, uranium, is a finite resource). Bioenergy is renewable but its carbon footprint is debated: see chapter 4 for further analysis. Renewable energy has benefits beyond decarbonisation: it never runs out, and can replace expensive or unreliable imports.
Existence of Biggest Wind Turbines: The UK, and Scotland in particular, is no stranger to trend-setting clean energy projects that are contributing towards encouraging renewable milestones. The UK is home to the biggest wind turbines in existence, and after Hywind Scotland, the Irish Sea is expected to host an even bigger offshore wind farm in the future. Then there's the world's first lagoon power plants, still in development, and while England doesn't really have the right weather, windy Scotland has also been earmarked for the world's first commercial kite-driven power plants.
Future Advantage: Unlike wind turbines installed on land, floating turbines don't need to be specially tailored to the terrain on which they stand. This means they're capable of being mass produced, which lowers the cost of production. The U.K. has a Renewable Energy Directive that dictates 30 percent of the country's electricity must come from renewables by 2020. According to a report by the Scottish government, more than half that region's energy already comes from renewables. The Hywind project receives government support in the form of renewable obligation certificates. It gets 3.5 ROCs, which currently adds up to about 140 pounds per megawatt-hour, according to Statoil spokeswoman Elin Isaksen. This is on top of the U.K.’s wholesale power price which has averaged 48.75 pounds per megawatt-hour over the past year. Isaksen’s company is looking at Japan, Hawaii, and California as the next possible homes for these renewable energy generators.
It's quite the feat of engineering, with the obvious benefit of floating wind farms being the inhospitable environments in which they can be erected. Energy firms Statoil and Masdar partnered on the Hywind Scotland project, and the plan within the next year or so is to install a huge 1MWh "Batwind" storage battery to better manage the site's output.