World's First Full-Scale Offshore Floating Wind Turbine

StatoilHydro's Hywind offshore floating wind turbine being towed into position
StatoilHydro’s Hywind offshore floating wind turbine being towed into position.
(cc) StatoilHydro

StatoilHydro’s Hywind pilot, the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine, was inaugurated in the North Sea on September 8th, 2009. “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,” says Margareth Øvrum, executive vice president for Technology & New Energy in StatoilHydro.

Hywind is a good example of the way StatoilHydro’s long experience from the offshore oil and gas business can be applied to tomorrow’s market for renewable energy. The floating wind turbine has been delivered within budget and on schedule.

“We’ve drawn on experience acquired during 30 years on the Norwegian continental shelf to realise this groundbreaking project,” says Gunnar Myrebøe, executive vice president for Projects & Procurement in StatoilHydro. “In that respect, our close collaboration with the supplies industry has played a key role in the success of the Hywind development.”

StatoilHydro is investing about NOK 340 million in the project, with Enova providing NOK 59 million. The latter is a state-owned company which promotes environment-friendly changes to energy production and use in Norway.

Hywind comprises a 2.3 megawatt wind turbine installed on a traditional floater of the kind previously used for such applications as production platforms and offshore loading. The turbine has been manufactured by the Siemens Wind Power company in Denmark, while France’s Technip built the floater and Nexans produced and laid the power cable to land.

Following the award of the turnkey contract for the substructure of the wind turbine in May 2008, Technip’s operating center in Oslo, Norway, performed the project management and installation engineering. Detail design and fabrication of the substructure was carried out at the Group’s construction yard in Pori, Finland, which is specialized in the construction of Spar platforms.

After being towed in a horizontal position to the Åmøyfjoden fjord in Norway, the substructure was up-ended and stabilized before assembly with the wind turbine, including the generator and the turbine blades. The completed floating structure, now in a vertical position, was then towed to the final location 10 kilometres south-west of Karmoy island by three vessels and connected to the anchor system in June 2009. The total structure measures 165 meters of which 100 meters below the sea level.

The Hywind demonstration unit will operate for a period of at least two years while its developers gain knowledge on practical aspects of the operation and maintenance of floating offshore wind turbines.

Margareth Øvrum noted, “Floating wind power remains an immature technology, and the road to commercialisation and full-scale construction of wind farms will be long.”

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