Scotland approves project to build 'world's largest' floating wind farm

Agence France-Presse
A maintenance worker looks out over the turbines of the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm in the mouth of the River Mersey on May 12, 2008 in Liverpool, England.
Christopher Furlong

The Scottish government gave the go-ahead on Monday to Britain's floating offshore wind farm project, which could power 19,000 households, saying it would be the "world's largest."

The Norwegian energy company Statoil wants to locate five turbines — with a capacity of six megawatts each — 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) off Peterhead in northeast Scotland.

The turbines will be placed on floating structures, allowing them to be located further off the coast in deeper water.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney called the plan "hugely exciting."

Irene Rummelhoff of Statoil added in a statement that northeast Scotland offered "optimal wind conditions" as well as a strong oil and gas supply chain as it is near the oil industry city of Aberdeen.

"Floating wind represents a new, significant and increasingly competitive renewable energy source," Rummelhoff added.

"Statoil's objective with developing this pilot park is to demonstrate a commercial, utility-scale floating wind solution, to further increase the global market potential."

Locating the turbines so far offshore offers several advantages — they can benefit from stronger winds, are not visible from the coast and cause fewer problems for others using the sea such as fishermen.

Offshore construction is expected to start next year or in 2017.