First thought: if succesful, wind farms can prove that a revolutionary new energy source is available.
The floating wind farm is capable of pumping 30 megawatts of clean electricity into the grid. In more human terms, that’s enough to power approximately 20,000 homes.
The turbines of Hywind Scotland stand 253 meters tall in total (around 830 feet), with 78 meters (256 feet) of that bobbing beneath the surface, tethered to the seabed by chains weighing 1,200 tonnes.
Irene Rummelhoff, head of the oil firm’s low-carbon division, said the technology opened up an enormous new resource of wind power.
“It’s almost unlimited. Currently we are saying [floating windfarms will work in]water depths of between 100 and 700 metres, but I think we can go deeper than that. It opens up ocean that was unavailable,” she said.
“Looking to the next decades, there might be a point where floating is bigger than fixed based,” said Stephan Barth of IEA Wind, an intergovernmental wind power body covering 21 countries.
Bruno Geschier, chief marketing officer at Ideol, a French company hoping to build floating windfarms in Japan, France and elsewhere, said he expected floating farms to begin to take off in the next decade, “reaching cruising altitude in the mid-2020s and a big boom in 2030-35”.
The commercialisation also means a chance for new countries to emerge as renewable energy leaders. The UK has the most offshore wind capacity in the world, with Germany not far behind, but France, which has none, wants to become a market leader.
“Floating wind is an opportunity for France to step on to the podium,” said Geschier.