From the deep fjord outside Stord on the west coast of Norway, the floating wind turbines will be towed to Scottish waters. The world´s largest floating wind project will be located 25 kilometers off the coast of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, at water depths between 90 and 120 meters.
"Siemens Gamesa views the floating wind farm market area the same way as we did with offshore wind farms in the early beginning: it is a very interesting area that is initially a niche market. This niche may, however, develop over time into a large market. It is a niche in which we would like to build a strong position for this reason" said Michael Hannibal, CEO of Offshore at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.
The floating foundations in the Hywind project are ballast-stabilized and anchored to the seabed with mooring lines. With their lightweight nacelles, Siemens Gamesa large direct drive wind turbines are particularly suited for floating foundations.
The Hywind concept has already proven its effectiveness in 2009, when Statoil and Siemens Wind Power successfully installed a 2.3 MW Siemens Wind Power turbine at the first full-scale floating wind turbine project worldwide, Hywind Demo.
At the same time, Siemens Gamesa gathered a lot of experience on the specific requirements regarding the control parameters on a moving wind turbine under offshore conditions. For the floating installation, the technicians developed new controller algorithms for rotor pitch and yaw drive regulation.
The most important key success factor for the future of floating wind turbines is concepts which are cost (LCoE) competitive with bottom fixed foundations.
In the Scottish pilot project Siemens Gamesa and Statoil have been working close to develop a concept for commercial and large scale offshore wind parks which is cost efficient and with low risk.
"In Siemens Gamesa we don't expect significant challenges in developing a working concept for floating foundations. But concepts need to be more cost competitive with bottom fixed foundations to develop into a bigger market," said Michael Hannibal, CEO Offshore at Siemens Gamesa.
Commissioning of the Hywind project is planned for 4Q17.
The majority of operating floating wind farms are currently located in Europe. However, California, Hawaii, Japan and Taiwan are attractive geographies for floating wind power turbines in the future.