LONDON: The world’s largest floating offshore wind farm is to be built in the North Sea, positioning Scotland as a “world leader in floating wind technology” according to Climate Minister Aileen McLeod.
Hywind Pilot Park, which will be constructed by energy company Statoil off the coast of Scotland, is proposed to have five floating 6 MW turbines, with an annual generating capacity of 135 GWh of electricity.
The North Sea has high potential for deep offshore wind energy, with the European Wind Energy Association stating that in 2050, the energy produced in this area “could meet the EU’s electricity consumption by even more than four times over”. This large impact highlights the opportunities available to other large companies under pressure to use cheaper, cleaner energy, as well as the clean economic growth potential for Scotland, a member of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance.
Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Scottish Government, told The Climate Group: “Scotland has been an active member of The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance for a decade. The Scottish experience demonstrates how devolved, state and regional governments can drive a progressive low carbon agenda delivering jobs, investment and growth.
“Scotland has delivered a 38% emissions cut since 1990 so is well on the way to its world-leading target of a 42% reduction by 2020, which was designed to provide certainty for investors and put us at the forefront of low carbon innovation. 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.”
Due to start onshore construction in the next few months, the project is believed to reduce generating costs to below £85-95 per MWh (US$131-146), compared to other commercial wind farms which have costs of £100 (US$154) per MWh. By using the ‘floating’ wind farm concept, Statoil will also be able to utilize the wind energy created by unique currents and circulations in deep-water environments.
Further showcasing its low carbon leadership, earlier this year the Scottish Government signed the Under2MOU, and has also reported its emissions through the Compact of States and Regions, The Climate Group’s platform to report sub-national governments’ emissions. The pioneering Compact initiative “shows the need and way towards a strong agreement in Paris,” according to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Speaking in an exclusive video released at Climate Week NYC on The Climate Group’s digital channel Climate TV, the First Minister said: “Scotland knows that moving to a low carbon future is not only a moral imperative, it is also a massive economic opportunity – and we are determined to lead by example.” Emphasizing the economic benefits brought by clean tech investments, she affirmed: “In Scotland it’s one of the fastest growing parts of our economy, already employing 50,000 people.”
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