This technology might open up many new areas to offshore wind.
By offering floating turbines that are anchored to the floor via a cable, as opposed to by expensive and difficult-to-install fixed foundations, the hope is that this technology will both drive down costs and open up new areas to wind energy development. And this means the potential for harvesting stronger, steadier winds farther out at sea.
But all that depends, of course, on whether it actually works. The good news is that we should now be able to find out, as developer Statoil has announced that the project is now officially live and producing energy.
Here's how Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, welcomed the launch when she officially opened the site:
“This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland. Our support for floating offshore wind is 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.”
That battery storage initiative—we reported on it here—will add a 1MW storage capacity to the project, potentially offering even more utility in terms of stability of output and leveling out the peaks and troughs of renewable energy production.
The Queen should be happy too. Because the area is leased from Crown Estate Scotland, this should add even more clean, renewable money to the crown's growing financial interest in renewables.
Here's a little more about how this ambitious project came about: