North East MSP's tribute to innovation of global first windfarm project

Some 15 miles from Peterhead, the five giant turbines of Hywind began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid this week, and will generate enough power for around 20,000 homes.
Some 15 miles from Peterhead, the five giant turbines of Hywind began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid this week, and will generate enough power for around 20,000 homes.

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett has paid tribute to the world-leading design of a North East wind project.

Some 15 miles from Peterhead, the five giant turbines of Hywind began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid this week, and will generate enough power for around 20,000 homes.

Mr Burnett attended the launch event and met Knut Solberg, who along with Dag Christensen designed the technology when the two sailors were becalmed in the middle of a Norwegian regatta.

They got the idea for a floating turbine from a marker buoy on the water – and began sketching on a serviette.

The Aberdeenshire West MSP said floating windfarms had taken their place as part of the country’s diverse generating grid.

“Offshore wind farms can be a viable way to help Scotland reach its climate change and carbon emissions targets,” he said. "This is a global first development and the North Sea is once again the setting for an energy revolution.

“The technology for floating wind farms is new and hugely expensive, and the Hywind project is being run in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi firm Masdar.

“In 2001, Knut Solberg made seven sketches on a napkin, which have been realised in Hywind thanks to Statoil and Masdar.”

Mr Burnett said the project’s £190 million cost was subsidised by the UK Government's Renewable Obligation Certificates.

"I am hopeful the scheme is a success and the cost of further projects will reduce, down the line,” he added.

At 175m from sea surface to blade tip, the turbines are almost as tall as the Queensferry Crossing.

They extend another 78 metres below the surface and are chained to the seabed to stay in place.