Statoil exits Maine Hywind project

Norwegian oil giant Statoil has walked away from its highly anticipated 12MW floating wind turbine pilot off the Maine coast after changes in legislation scuttled an electricity supply deal between the company and the US state.

Recharge has learned the company now planned to "demobilise resources" linked to its $120m Hywind Maine demonstrator, which was to have installed a quartet of the 3MW second-generation spar-buoy machines in 140-158 metres of water.

"The project outlook all in all became too uncertain to progress in the Maine, and we will focus our resources on the Hywind project in Scotland going forward," says a Statoil spokesman.

The company's Buchan Deep development – a five 6MW Hywind 2 array moored in 95-120 metres of water 25km off Peterhead – would be a front-runner in the race to be the world's first multi-unit floater development.

Statoil has carried out marine surveys at Buchan Deep, one of the offshore wind turbine demonstrator sites being tendered by the UK's Crown Estate for arrays of up to 15 turbines producing 100MW.

"We have conducted some marine surveys and hope for a continued positive dialogue with Scottish authorities," said the spokesman.

Statoil deployed its flagship Hywind unit, a 2.3MW prototype built with contractors Technip and Siemens, in 2010 off the coast of Norway.

A floating wind farm demonstrator project off Japan using Hywind 2s continues to move ahead, with the Norwegian group and developer Hitachi Zosen having launched a feasibility study for a site-specific model of the concept earlier this year.

Despite Statoil's departure from Maine, it remains interested in the US market. 

Regardless of our exit in Maine, we will continue to explore the US offshore wind market.," says Trine Ulla, head of business development for floating wind in Statoil. "The US holds several locations with good wind conditions, deep waters and proximity to load centers.”