Scotland Created The 'World's First Floating Wind Farm' In The North Sea

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Scotland has just finished constructing the "world's first floating wind farm" – a move dubbed by both ministers and environmental groups as an "exciting development for renewable energy".

The giant turbines, which sit 15 miles (or 25km) off the shore of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire have started supplying electricity to the grid and aims to power more than 20,000 homes.

The wind turbines are capable of adding 30 extra megawatts of energy to the electric grid (Image: Vattenfall via Flickr CC)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was flown over the "Hywind development" earlier this week to check out the 2.5 square miles of turbines situated in the North Sea.

"This marks an exciting development for renewable energy," she said – also claiming that each one is more than three times the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York:

"Hywind will provide clean energy to over 20,000 and will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets."

Built by Norwegian energy firm Statoil, the project features five turbines each 253 metres tall (with 78 metres submerged under the sea, anchored to the seabed by cables).

Sturgeon said the development underlined "the potential of Scotland's huge offshore wind resources" and put the country at the forefront of a global race to advance offshore wind tech.

Environmental campaigners have welcomed the "extraordinary Hywind" project, insisting it was "being watched around the world, as floating offshore wind has the potential to be exported globally".

"Offshore wind is already an industrial success story across the UK," WWF Scotland Policy Head Gina Hanrahan said, "cutting emissions, creating jobs and dramatically driving down costs."

"It's great to see the world's first floating wind farm inaugurated off our coast," she explains: 

"By demonstrating [its] commercial viability, Scotland can help to develop the industry in new frontiers and deeper waters."

Statoil Vice President of Energy Solutions Irene Irene Rummelhoff said the turbines could be sited in areas with a water depth of up to 800 metres, which have so far been out of bounds.

The Hywind Scotland project will "pave the way for new global market opportunities," she said, "the UK and Scotland are now at the forefront of the development of this exciting new technology.