Scotland is a world leader in the development of floating offshore wind power. This is due to a number of factors, including:
- Scotland’s deep waters: The waters around Scotland are some of the deepest in the world, which is ideal for floating wind turbines.
- Scotland’s windy climate: Scotland has a strong and consistent wind resource, which is essential for generating electricity from wind turbines.
- Scotland’s expertise in offshore engineering: Scotland has a long history of developing offshore oil and gas infrastructure, which has given it a strong base of expertise in working in harsh offshore environments.
The first commercial floating offshore wind farm in the world was Hywind Scotland, which was installed off the coast of Peterhead in 2017. The farm has a capacity of 30 megawatts (MW) and consists of five turbines.
- Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm: This 50 MW farm is located off the coast of Aberdeenshire and was installed in 2020.
- Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm Extension: This 96 MW extension to the Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm is currently under construction.
- Forth Wind Farm: This 600 MW farm is planned for the Firth of Forth and is expected to be operational by 2027.
The Scottish Government has set an ambitious target of generating 11 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from floating offshore wind by 2030. This would be enough to power around 11 million homes.
Floating offshore wind has a number of advantages over traditional fixed-bottom offshore wind. These include:
- It can be deployed in deeper waters: This means that it can access windier sites that are further from the coast.
- It has a lower visual impact: The turbines are located further away from the coast, so they are less visible from land.
- It can be used to develop wind farms in areas that are not suitable for fixed-bottom turbines: This includes areas with complex seabed conditions or areas that are important for marine life.
However, there are also some challenges associated with floating offshore wind. These include:
- The cost: Floating offshore wind is currently more expensive than traditional fixed-bottom offshore wind.
- The technology: Floating offshore wind is a relatively new technology, so there is still some uncertainty about its long-term performance and reliability.
Despite these challenges, floating offshore wind is a promising technology that has the potential to play a major role in the future of renewable energy. Scotland is at the forefront of this development, and it is likely to continue to be a world leader in this field.