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The world’s largest floating wind farm

A floating construction, 250 meters from top to bottom, can pose a real challenge

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“A meaningful project,” says engineer Emilie Schjøtt Brackman in DNV GL

Statoil's Hywind pilot park off the coast of Scotland illustrates the transformation in the world's use of energy resources. 

“It is particularly motivating to work with renewables when we really see the outlines of a new and greener future for the energy industry. With the current significant growth in the industry and technological development, there is no doubt that renewable sources will soon become an essential part of the world's energy supply,” says Emilie Brackman. 

She is a civil engineer and consultant at DNV GL, working in a team that specializes in floating wind power. The company has been working closely with Statoil on its wind park off the coast of Scotland. 

“For the project especially, and for floating wind generally, we use old knowledge from the oil and gas industry in a whole new industry,” says the engineer.

Requires several disciplines

Statoil’s Hywind project in Scotland means that five wind turbines has been built, each of six megawatts, which will provide power for as many as 20,000 homes. The pilot park covers an area of about four square kilometres, with a water depth of up to 120 metres. 

“The structure is floating and can therefore be installed at a large water depth. To save costs, it is desirable to have as small structures as possible, which can also withstand the natural forces at sea,” explains Brackman. 

DNV GL has assisted Statoil in their project development for several years, by independently verifying the project. Resources from several disciplines in the global technology group have contributed. 

“The verification project has been led by the department of renewable energy, assisted by several experts in the oil and gas division regarding anchoring analyses and structure,” she explains. 

Own standard for wind power

A floating construction with 250 metres from top to bottom can pose challenges when the natural forces play on the ocean. 

“Through DNV GL’s independent verification and analysis, we go through technical aspects and make our own checks against our floating wind standard to see that the structure is safe,” says Brackman. 

DNV GL was the first classification company to come with its own floating wind standard, in 2013. 

“The wind turbine technology is new, and we have to be proactive and have good guidelines for facilitating further development. Statoil also deserves great honour for taking an international leadership role in this development through the Hywind project,” she points out.

Huge opportunities

There are several technology concepts for floating wind. Depending on the concept, designs can be mounted at depths from 50 to 700 metres. The technology is therefore suitable for countries with great water depths just off their coasts. “With bottom-mounted turbines, offshore wind production is optimal for sea depths of less than 20 to 50 metres. 

With floating turbines, it will be possible to expand to areas with large ocean depths across the world. This gives access to new areas with good wind resources that can be of major importance for future energy sources,” concludes Brackman.


Fact box:


Hywind pilot park

  • Statoil is building the world's first floating wind park, Hywind pilot park, outside Peterhead, Scotland.
  • DNV GL has assisted Statoil in their project development over several years, by independently verifying the project.
  • Average wind speed in this part of the North Sea is approximately ten metres per second.
  • The five-turbine pilot park will have a power output of 30 megawatts, supplying power to 20,000 Scottish households.
  • The total cost was previously estimated at NOK two billion.
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Emilie Schjøtt Brackman, engineer in DNV GL