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Statoil Green Lights Floating Wind Farm Project

November 3, 2015

Hywind Scotland illustration (Image: Statoil)

Statoil has made the final investment decision to build the world’s first floating wind farm: The Hywind pilot park offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The decision triggers investments of around NOK 2 billion, realizing a 60-70 percent cost reduction per MW from the Hywind demo project in Norway.

Statoil (STO) will install a 30 MW wind turbine farm on floating structures at Buchan Deep, 25 kilometers offshore Peterhead, harnessing Scottish wind resources to provide renewable energy to the mainland. The wind farm will power around 20,000 households. Production start is expected in late 2017.

“Our objective with the Hywind pilot park is to demonstrate the feasibility of future commercial, utility-scale floating wind farms. This will further increase the global market potential for offshore wind energy, contributing to realizing our ambition of profitable growth in renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions.

The pilot park will cover around 4 square kilometers, at a water depth of 95-120 meters. The average wind speed in this area of the North Sea is around 10 meters per second.

Rummelhoff described Scotland as “a region with a huge wind resource and an experienced supply chain from oil and gas.” He added, “Through industry and supportive policies, the U.K. and Scotland is taking a position at the forefront of developing offshore wind as a competitive new energy source.”

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney said, “The momentum is building around the potential for floating offshore wind technology to unlock deeper water sites. The ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the offshore oil and gas industry create the ideal conditions to position Scotland as a world leader in floating wind technology.”

Statoil works with several Scottish suppliers and partners on the project. The project will provide additional work for industry in Scotland and other countries. The onshore operation and maintenance base will be located in Peterhead, also drawing on resources from Statoil’s existing office in Aberdeen.

Hywind is a unique offshore wind technology developed and owned by Statoil. The concept has been verified through six years of successful operation of a prototype installed off the island of Karmøy in Norway. Hywind with its simplicity in design is competitive towards other floating designs in water depths of more than 100 meters.

In May, Statoil announced the establishment of New Energy Solutions as a separate business area reporting to the CEO, reflecting the company’s aspirations to gradually complement its oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy and low-carbon solutions. As a starting point Statoil’s existing offshore wind portfolio constitutes the activities in this area. Hywind Scotland is the business area’s first new investment.

Offshore wind already has a strong foothold in Europe with 10 GW installed capacity, and a global potential to reach more than 100 GW by 2030. With fixed turbines, offshore wind is optimal for 20-50 meters water depth. With floating structures, further expansion will be enabled in new deepwater areas around the world.

Statoil said it is a key energy security partner for the U.K. and pursues a broad range of activities relating to energy production and sales in Britain. Statoil is a leading supplier of natural gas to the British market, with a market share around 20 percent.

The company is also active on the U.K. Continental Shelf, including the development of the Mariner oil field, operatorship for the Bressay project and holding several exploration licenses. Statoil’s Global Strategy and Business Development division is based in London.

Statoil was the operator in the development phase for the 88 turbine Sheringham Shoal offshore Wind Farm, 20 kilometers off the coast of Norfolk. Sheringham Shoal started producing in 2012.

The same year Statoil and Statkraft acquired the nearby Dudgeon offshore wind farm project. Statoil is also partner in the Dogger Bank offshore wind project. In combination, Statoil’s U.K. offshore wind business has the long term potential to provide competitive low carbon electricity to around 4.5 million U.K. homes.

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