50MW floating wind plan off Scotland

Aberdeen-based start-up Pilot Offshore Renewables aims to build a 50MW floating wind turbine demonstrator in the deep water off the east coast of Scotland by 2017.

The Kincardine wind farm, which has been scoped by UK contractor Atkins as an eight-semisubmersible-unit project moored in water depths of 60-80 metres eight miles (12.9km) offshore, would be in the running with Norwegian energy giant Statoil's planned 30MW Buchan Deep project to be the world's first floating wind array.

"This will be the world’s first array of floating wind turbines, and will establish a leading position for Scotland in the development and deployment of this novel technology," says Pilot, a joint venture between MacAskill Associates and Renewable Energy Ventures Offshore, in a document published on the Scottish government's website.

"Floating foundations open the possibility for future offshore wind farms to be located further from shore in deeper waters, minimising visual impacts whilst accessing hitherto untapped wind resources."

Final array layout and design of the floating offshore units is to be finalised following front-end engineering and further site surveys.

The Kincardine project, which still needs to lock up seabed rights from the UK's Crown Estate, would be connected to the UK grid at Redmoss substation.

A report on the aerial bird and sea mammal surveys at the Kincardine project site was handed in to Marine Scotland last month.

Two semisubmersible-mounted wind turbine demonstrators are currently afloat: US outfit Principle Power's 2MW WindFloat project off Portugal and the Mitsubishi-led Fukushima Forward pilot off Japan.