HywindThe world’s first floating wind farm was formally opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today.

Situated about 15 miles from Peterhead, Statoil’s Hywind project has seen five giant turbines installed using a floating approach which allows turbines to be installed in much deeper waters than conventional offshore wind farms.

The 172-metre turbines are almost four times the height of the Forth Bridge.

Norwegian energy firm Statoil has been working on developing Hywind for more than 15 years.

Power generated by the project will be brought to 20,000 homes.

This wind farm is positioned in water depths of up to 129m, whereas those fixed to the seabed are generally at depths of up to 50m.

Statoil believes the technology has the potential to work in water depths of up to 700m.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This pilot project underlines the potential of Scotland’s huge offshore wind resource and positions Scotland at the forefront of the global race to develop the next generation of offshore wind technologies.

“In addition to the green benefits of renewable energy, it also has a very significant contribution to make to our economy.

“I’m pleased Scottish suppliers have contributed to the Hywind project from the development through to the production phase and are still involved to investigate long-term potential for floating wind.”

Welcoming the official opening, Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Hywind’s presence in Scottish waters is a reminder that, as the windiest country in Europe, and with some of the deepest waters and most promising offshore wind sites, Scotland is perfectly placed to capitalise on floating turbine technology.

“Our unique offshore supply chain and the skillset it supports put us at the forefront of the deployment of these innovative machines.

“That deployment, through sites like Hywind and the Kincardine project further south will help lower costs for this young sector, increasing the opportunity for Scotland to take advantage of a significant future global market.”

Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “With around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource in Scotland, it’s great to see the world’s first floating windfarm inaugurated off our coast. Offshore wind is already an industrial success story across the UK, cutting emissions, creating jobs and dramatically driving down costs. By demonstrating the commercial viability of floating wind, Scotland can help to develop the industry in new frontiers and deeper waters.

“With this kind of innovation and investment, and continued political support, Scotland will continue to power towards our target of securing half of all our energy needs form renewable sources by 2030.”