Impact assessment for potential pilot park for floating wind turbine

Paul Boughton
Aberdeen-headquartered energy consultancy Xodus Group today announced that it will plan and carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Statoil for a potential pilot park for the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine.

Xodus made the announcement at the All Energy conference in Aberdeen and First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the news. The Hywind turbine is based on the Hywind Demo prototype, which has been successfully tested by Statoil in Norway for over a year. An area off the North-east coast of Scotland will be assessed as a potential candidate for a possible first pilot park of up to five units, generating renewable electricity offshore.  

Based on technologies from the oil and gas industry, Hywind has been designed for deep, rough waters. The floating Hywind structure consists of a slender steel cylinder filled with a ballast of water and rocks, holding a wind-turbine on top. It extends some 80 metres beneath the sea’s surface and is attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread. The environmental study, assessing the impacts a deployment of a Hywind Pilot Park may have, will start this summer.

James Ingram, Head of Low Carbon at Xodus Group said: “The Hywind project is unique, and we are delighted to be working with Statoil on this innovative technology. Our team of environmental experts will be carrying out a thorough assessment of the proposed development, in close cooperation with Statoil, to analyse any potential impacts. One of the main advantages of the floating structure is that the turbines do not need to be piled into the seabed, reducing its environmental impact.”

During a visit to Norway last August First Minister Alex Salmond met with Statoil to hear about the project.

He said: “I’m very pleased that Statoil is considering an area off the North-east Scottish coast as the location for a potential pilot park to deploy their pioneering Hywind technology and I congratulate Xodus Group on being appointed to conduct the EIA.  Our nation has been blessed with an abundance of natural energy, with an estimated quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal energy resource.  Founded on our strong industrial heritage in offshore engineering and innovation, Scotland’s waters are attracting a range of clean energy technology developments, and I hope to see further exciting renewable energy projects such as Statoil’s Hywind deployed here in the coming years.”

Xodus Group is an integrated energy consultancy with a dedicated low carbon division with projects covering wind, wave and tidal. It has carried out a huge variety of environmental impact assessments (EIA) and is one of the first organisations in the country to be awarded the Institute of Environmental Management and Assesment’s new EIA quality mark which was launched last month.

Fig. 1. Hywind tow from Åmøyfjorden to Karmøy  - floating windmill at sea in deep water

Fig. 2. James Ingram, Head of Low Carbon at Xodus Group with Colin Manson, CEO and Eric Doyle Business Development Manager


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