The UK’s biggest floating wind power project, the 50MW Kincardine, is taking shape with the five units for the array, being built by developer Cobra, being fitted with turbines in the Port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.
Made up of a 9.5MW Vestas V164 atop a Principle Power WindFloat platform, the units will operate at a site off Aberdeen, Scotland, in water depths of 60-80.
Kincardine – which has seen its deployment delayed by Covid disruption – had once been racing to beat the 30MW Statoil Hywind Scotland array – which was brought online in September 2017 – to first power, but fell afoul of “difficulties” between original turbine supplier Senvion and Cobra, a subsidiary of Spanish construction giant ACS Cobra, which was taken over by French infrastructure giant Vinci via a €5bn ($5.9bn) deal earlier this month (April 2021).
First hatched by Scottish developer Pilot Offshore Resourcesin 2014, the project was later taken over by Cobra, which for a time planned to develop a so-called 'advanced semisubmersible' foundation in-house for the multi-unit array.
The project made it under the wire to qualify for lucrative UK Renewables Obligation Certificates by getting the first of the wind farm's unit – the reconditioned WindFloat 1, which had been trialed off Portugal between 2011-2016 – installed in late 2018.
Globally, floating wind markets are on the verge of explosive growth with expectations a near-1,000-fold expansion of the current embryonic fleet as international supply chains take shape to support development of commercial-scale projects around the world, including in key markets in Europe’s northern seas, the US Pacific and off Asia Pacific, where DNV believe half of the 260GW of worldwide floating wind forecast will be turning by 2050.