In a landmark agreement, Danske Commodities, a Danish energy-trading firm, has committed to buying all the power generated by Scotland’s Hywind offshore wind farm over the next 20 years, demonstrating that floating wind turbines now have a sound business case.
The wind industry, both offshore and onshore, has seen steady advancements in efficiency and cost effectiveness, as well as the development of new lubricants to keep pace with increasing demands, such as Mobil SHC Gear 320 WT from Mobil UK stockists. The development of floating turbines, however, is a particularly radical innovation because in addition to allowing wind farms to be located further out at sea where wind speeds are generally faster and more consistent, it also opens up offshore wind power to regions that lack enough shallow waters for fixed foundation wind turbines. Some 80% of the potential waters for offshore wind power have a depth greater than 60 metres, which is commonly regarded as the maximum feasible depth for fixed foundation wind turbines.
While floating wind farms have been mostly limited to prototypes and pilot projects, the acquisition by Danske Commodities promises to trigger a surge in floating windfarm projects. The developer of Hywind, Norwegian energy firm Equinor, believes it can reduce the levelised energy cost of its floating wind turbines to around $50-70 per megawatt-hour by 2030, making it cheaper than coal-fired power plants. It also predicts that floating wind turbines will provide 13GW of generation capacity around the world by 2030.