First floating wind turbine launches in Norway

KARMOY ISLAND, NORWAY - The world's first full-scale floating wind turbine, StatoilHydro's 'Hywind,' took to the high seas for a two-year trial that will lead to wind turbines that can be deployed in much deeper waters than currently possible.

StatoilHydro ASA said the 2.3-megawatt (MW) Hywind turbine will be located 10 kilometres off the Norwegian coast, southwest of Karmoy island. The company claimed that Hywind can be located in waters ranging from 100 metres to 700 metres deep.

Delivered on schedule and within budget, StatoilHydro is investing 39 million euros (US$57 million) in the project, with another 7 million euros (US$10.2 million) provided by Enova Systems Incorporated.

Hywind consists of a 2.3-MW turbine installed on a traditional floater, similar to those used for production platforms and offshore loading. France's Technip SA built the floater, a steel and concrete buoy with ballast tanks, which will extend about 100 metres below the surface of the water. This lower centre of gravity should result in less platform movement.

The turbine was manufactured by Siemens AG and will sit 65 metres above the surface of the sea. The structure will be anchored to the seabed with a three-point mooring line.

"Today, we're inaugurating the pilot facility, which could help floating wind turbines to make an important contribution in the longer term to meeting the world's big demand for energy," said Margareth Ovrum, Executive Vice President for Technology & New Energy at StatoilHydro.

"Floating wind power remains an immature technology, and the road to commercialization and full-scale construction of wind farms will be long. Our goal with the Hywind pilot is to test how wind and waves affect the structure, learn how the operating concept can be optimized, and identify technology gaps."

Gunnar Myreboe, Executive Vice President for Projects & Procurement in StatoilHydro, added: "We've drawn on experience acquired during 30 years on the Norwegian continental shelf to realize this groundbreaking project. In that respect, our close collaboration with the supplies industry has played a key role in the success of the Hywind development."


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