Teaming up with nature

By | Business
Hywind project. Credit@Commons Wikimedia

When it comes to the energy market, proactive businesses seem to embrace a future-proofing approach by exploring innovative renewable energy sources. In this regard, Statoil, an international energy company with operations in 36 countries, aims to establish its position in the markets as a champion of natural sources of energy, particularly by analysing offshore renewable energy options. In recent years, Statoil has launched the Hywind project, the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine which combines known technologies in a cutting edge setting and opens up the possibility for capturing wind energy in deep-water environments. The company aims to commercialise the concept by developing a supplier market to improve costs, therefore enabling floating wind power to compete in the energy market. Designed for deep waters close to sizeable power consumption regions throughout the world, the Hywind concept’s flexibility on location choice may lead to substantial market opportunities, especially if the company succeeds at developing and implementing this technology in a cost competitive way.

Statoil is in the process of building the world’s first floating wind farm – the Hywind pilot park offshore, in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. This project, which was previously tested off the coast of Norway with promising results, marks a step forward for offshore wind technology and, if successful, may open new markets worldwide for renewable energy production. Statoil is planning to install a 30MW wind turbine farm on floating structures at Buchan Deep, 25km offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, harnessing Scottish wind resources to provide renewable energy to the mainland. With production estimated to start in 2017, this wind farm aims to power around 20,000 households.

Talking about this project, Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions said: “Statoil is proud to develop the world’s first floating wind farm. Our objective with the Hywind pilot park is to demonstrate the feasibility of future commercial, utility-scale floating wind farms. This will further increase the global market potential for offshore wind energy, contributing to realising our ambition of profitable growth in renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions.”

Floating wind seems to emerge as a significant renewable energy source complementing an existing and expanding array of alternative energy projects in Scotland. This pilot project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of multiple floating wind turbines in a region with optimal wind conditions, a solid supply chain within oil and gas and supportive public policies such as enhanced support for floating offshore wind pilot parks under Scotland’s Renewables Obligation.

Welcoming Statoil’s Hywind development, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Hywind is a hugely exciting project – in terms of electricity generation and technology innovation – and it’s a real testament to our energy sector expertise and skilled workforce that Statoil chose Scotland for the world’s largest floating wind farm.”[…] “The momentum is building around the potential for floating offshore wind technology to unlock deeper water sites. The ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the offshore oil and gas industry create the ideal conditions to position Scotland as a world leader in floating wind technology”. Meanwhile, the British Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd commented: “This is fantastic news for Scotland and the whole of the UK, demonstrating that we are open for business and that the UK’s offshore wind industry continues to go from strength to strength.” […] “This exciting project is a great example of how innovation can help to power our homes and add to our energy mix – offering clean, secure energy to Britain’s hardworking families and businesses.” Statoil works with several Scottish suppliers and partners on the project, which may provide additional work for industry in Scotland and other countries.

Adapting to the digital age seems to require more creative responses from businesses to existing and potential questions. Companies may need to recognise and understand their skill sets and capabilities in order to effectively invest in building the future. Statoil’s funding of the first floating full-scale windmill in the world may be an example of how a company may efficiently use previous expertise to help secure its place in the growing renewable energy industry.

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