You’ve heard of the wind farms, but this pioneering venture is unique as Scotland becomes home to the world’s first floating farm with five giant turbines set-up and spinning over 15 miles off-coast of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire in Scotland. The average wind speed is about 10 metres/second. Though UK and Scotland have mostly been trend setters in clean energy projects, UK harnesses the largest wind turbines that exist. The project, partnered by energy firms Masdar and Statoil (the Norwegian oil and gas powerhouse) is expected to generate adequate electricity to supply at least 20,000 homes with power.
The blades of the huge turbines of the £200 million Hywind Scotland stands 830ft tall and 256ft sprawling beneath the surface. They are secured to the seabed by strong cables weighing almost 1200 tonnes. Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister inaugurated the site in an “on-land” ceremony estimated the project’s ability to pump 30 megawatts of electricity into the power grid. The Hywind Scotland project partners also plan to install a 1megawatt “Batwind” storage battery within the ensuing year to enable better management of the site’s output. She added that “the farm placed Scotland at the forefront of the global race to develop the next generation of offshore wind technologies.”
The project has taken 15 years to shape-up and in a statement issued by one of its developers Statoil, the company’s Executive Vice President for New Energy Solutions, Irene Rummelhoff said, “Through industry and supportive policies, the UK and Scotland is taking a position at the forefront of developing offshore wind as a competitive new energy source.” Scotland has been involved in several clean energy initiatives in the past few months.
The country also recently announced its goal to achieve “zero carbon” status by 2010 for which they have been relying completely on clean energy generating sources. Currently, the MeyGen Tidal Stream Project, known as the world’s first large scale tidal power farm is also operating off Scotland’s north coast. The project seeks to scale up to provide power for 175,000 homes in the near future. According to the Scotland government, they are home to 25% of the European off-shore wind resources garnering employment opportunities to above 50k people in “Scotland’s low carbon and renewable energy economy.”
Gina Hanrahan, the acting Policy Head at WWF Scotland also welcomed the opening of the pilot project stating that, “’With around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource in Scotland, it’s great to see the world’s first floating wind farm inaugurated off our coast.”
These innovative technologies have emerged as positive response to the rising menace of global climate change and could herald a massive impact on the availability of clean energy around the world. While innovators continue tapping some of the most resourceful avenues of energy generation, battling the damage caused to this planet requires coordinated and sustained efforts for potential restoration.