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World's First Floating Wind Farm Will Power 20,000 Homes

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Scotland has officially switched on the Hywind Scotland, the world's first floating wind farm.

"Hywind will provide clean energy to over twenty thousand homes and will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets," First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.


The 30 megawatt wind farm, operated by Norwegian oil company Statoil ASA and Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., consists of five turbines and is located 25 kilometers offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.

"This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland," the First Minister continued. "Our support for floating offshore wind is testament to this government's commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil's Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world center for energy innovation."

Batwind, a Lithium battery that can store one megawatt-hour of power, is linked to the Hywind to help mitigate intermittency and optimize output.

As Bloomberg noted, typical offshore wind farms are installed on seabeds in relatively shallow seas. The advantage of a floating system allows countries like Japan, the U.S. West Coast and Mediterranean—where seabeds drop steeply off the coast—to also utilize the technology.

"Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 meters, thus opening up areas that so far have been inaccessible for offshore wind," explained Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of the New Energy Solutions business area at Statoil.

The project cost about 200 million pounds ($263 million) to construct.

The cost of onshore and offshore wind has seen significant reductions in recent years, with the UK's latest renewable energy auction dropping to 57.50 pounds ($76) per megawatt-hour, Bloomberg noted.

Floating wind is expected to follow a similar downward trajectory over the next decade, making it cost competitive with other renewable energy sources, Statoil said.

"Statoil has an ambition to reduce the costs of energy from the Hywind floating wind farm to €40-60/MWh ($47-76) by 2030. Knowing that up to 80 percent of the offshore wind resources are in deep waters (+60 meters) where traditional bottom fixed installations are not suitable, floating offshore wind is expected to play a significant role in the growth of offshore wind going forward," Rummelhoff said.

Scotland has emerged as a clean energy all-star, with its wind turbines occasionally generating more electricity than is actually needed. This past March 17 and 19, wind turbines provided an output equivalent of 102 percent and 130 percent of each day's demand, respectively.

Last month, Scottish wind turbines provided 846,942 megawatt hours of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply the power needs of 2.25 million, or 93 percent of Scottish households, according to WWF Scotland. That's 33 percent more homes than the same time last year, when wind energy provided 629,603 MWh, the environmental group noted.

The Scottish government is actively working towards a low-carbon future, and announced earlier this month that fracking is set to be permanently banned following "overwhelming" public support for outlawing the controversial process.

The first minister also announced plans to end the sale of new gas and diesel-powered cars by 2032 and fast-track the development of a country-wide charging network for electric vehicles.

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"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."

Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.

However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.

"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.

Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.

Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.

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