The UK's first floating wind farm will be installed off the Scottish coast at Peterhead following a Crown Estate agreement to lease the site to Norway's Statoil.
The project will see installation of five 6 MW floating turbines, expected to be supplied by Siemens, that will operate in water over 100 metres deep in the Buchan Deep some 20-23 kilometres off the east coast. The scheme will be Europe's biggest and one of the biggest in the world.
Statoil is developing Buchan Deep as part of its Hywind project, which has seen a full scale floating turbine operating off the Norwegian costs since 2009, the world's first.
Floating technology makes it economically feasible to exploit sites which are too deep for conventional offshore turbines. The Buchan Deep turbines will be connected to the National Grid, potentially supplying the energy needs of 20,000 homes.
The project's main purpose however is to act as a 'Pilot Park' for Statoil, a proving ground for new ideas that could make more projects technically and financially viable in future. Statoil is also researching whether such schemes could be used as part of an array.
Statoil's senior vice-president for renewable energy, Siri Espedal Kindem, said: “This is a significant milestone for the Hywind Scotland Pilot Park. It represents a new step in the development towards a future, floating, commercial-scale park.
“We look forward to a progressed dialogue with key stakeholders in Scotland including communities, the local supply chain and the authorities.”