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World’s first floating wind farm emerges off coast of Scotland–At huge cost to UK electricity users

July 24, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public


Harrabin’s been a busy boy this week!



The world’s first full-scale floating wind farm has started to take shape off the north-east coast of Scotland.


The revolutionary technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines.

The Peterhead wind farm, known as Hywind, is a trial which will bring power to 20,000 homes.

Manufacturer Statoil says output from the turbines is expected to equal or surpass generation from current ones.

It hopes to cash in on a boom in the technology, especially in Japan and the west coast of the US, where waters are deep.

The Hywind project is being run in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi firm Masdar. The £190m cost was subsidised by bill-payers under the UK government’s Renewable Obligation Certificates.



Offshore wind farms receive 1.8 ROCs per MWh, and at the current market price of about £45, this works out at £8.5 million a year. With an expected life of 20 years, Hywind’s owners can expect to earn a total of £170 million in subsidies from bill payers, on top of the value of electricity produced.

And all for supplying just 20,000 homes!

Contrast to the Carrington CCGT power station opened last year, which cost £1bn and can supply 1 million homes, with no subsidy at all.

Hywind claim that the cost of future projects may come down. But why on earth are UK bill payers being made to pick up the cost, so that Norwegian Statoil and Abu Dhabi Masdar can eventually sell their technology to Japan and the US?

  1. Jackington permalink
    July 24, 2017 1:43 pm

    Great news for the Green Economy – in Norway.

  2. Tom O permalink
    July 24, 2017 1:59 pm

    So how is this “floating platform” being anchored, how much does it cost to have the cable that has to run to it laid/hung/however? If this is a boat hull, it has to swing into the waves, whichever direction they will be coming from, and how do you erect a tower on a floating platform that isn’t going to be changing pitch as far as blades perpendicular to the direction of the wind? How does, a windmill turn with the wind if it is, say, 5 degrees off level from the floating platform riding out a wave? Is this really something that can work? I realize they use floating oil rigs, but those “boats” move out of the paths of big storms and have a hub to connect the pumps to, but how do you have a floating or sunk power cable with a “quick disconnect” on it so that the floating wind mill can move into a safer location in a big storm, or can maneuver with regards to wave directions and size?

    • Ian permalink
      July 24, 2017 4:21 pm

      Whilst I’m as fed up as you Tom, I don’t think it’s as impossible as you suggest. From what I’ve seen they’re built on to vertical flotation tubes, not boats, anchored in 4 or more locations, working a bit like giant fishing floats.

      • July 24, 2017 5:06 pm

        I agree here Ian; but worry about the problem of fatigue failure as the angle of attack rapidly shifts with wave motion. There are large forces involved here and even the possibility of catastrophic failure under some conditions due to harmonic amplification.
        We shall see; but in the meantime the 20,000 homes supplied will have to fork out some £8500 each on top of their bills just to cover the subsidies over the period.
        Generally I think all generation projects should publish the capital cost per projected annual Mwatts (NOT designed capacity).

  3. A C Osborn permalink
    July 24, 2017 2:07 pm

    Paul, you say “And all for supplying just 20,000 homes!”, But only when the wind is blowing at the correct speed, so on average 4,000 homes.
    They are “having a laugh” and it at our expense.

  4. E. Martin permalink
    July 24, 2017 2:31 pm

    Obviously, the designers of this have never been to sea.

    • Col Andrews permalink
      July 25, 2017 3:03 am

      Half fill a bottle with sand and float it in your bathtub, now put a pole in the bottle say 25″ above the water and a fan on the top of that – tie the bottle to the bottom of the bathtub with 4 lengths of string weighed down by rocks. There you have a rough model of this $trough.

      95% of birdchoppers fail because the main bearings can not take the imbalance in loads between the blade in the uppermost position and the blade in the lowermost position. It’s and inherent problem with all birdchoppers.

      Now stick you hand in the bathtub and make waves, notice how the fan on the end of the stick bobbles around – the movement magnified by the length of the stick. When there is a large storm these Hywinds will do the same, only the magnitude of the forces on their main bearings will be gargantuan. 20 year life?? more like 2 descent storms!!

  5. martinbrumby permalink
    July 24, 2017 2:46 pm

    As reluctant as I am to give the Biased Bullshit Corporation traffic, it is worth following the link, to see some statistics from the perpetrators of this fraud. 11,500 tonnes apiece. Filled with iron ore as ballast. An enormous engineering project. Fabricated in Norway and shipped across the North Sea for installation offshore here.


    “Carbon footprint”??

    “Up to” 20,000 households benefit (when the wind blows at the correct speed)??

    These people are demented. Fraudsters? Certainly, but demented fraudsters.
    Whilst we have Guvmint Ministers who have nodded this bizarre scheme through.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      July 24, 2017 3:20 pm

      It’s perfectly clear individual cost figures do not matter a fig so long as each project helps the UK hit its CC Act targets. Logic, rationale or cost impacts to end users don’t come into it. We’re governed by climate obsessive imbeciles.

    • Paddy permalink
      July 25, 2017 6:49 am

      The minister’s are just PPE eejits – it is the civil servants who should be castigated – in spades.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 25, 2017 1:02 pm

        I don’t think the civil servants are any more knowledgeable than the MP morons. The days of a world class civil service are long gone. Just as the days when MPs worked to benefit the nation not their egos and pockets.

  6. Knut A. Lian permalink
    July 24, 2017 3:38 pm

    Thousands of tons of steel per mill, for heavy chains, 5000 tons of iron ore, copper, GRE, lots of rear neodynium etc. All the environmental impact from mining and processing, and CO2 emissions. It will never produce more electricity or reduce CO2 more than the manufacturing and decommissioning and recycling. It will produce highly variable electricity if the wind blows. A pain in the butt for any power grid. The lifetime will be 10 years. Not 15 due to higher stresses offshore. Costly and subsidices. A killer for Scotish industry due to higher electricity cost. Unrelayables.

  7. July 24, 2017 4:14 pm

    Now what could possibly go wrong with the floating turbines and their connecting cables? I would hate to see the risk assessment that has been carried out.

    • David Richardson permalink
      July 24, 2017 4:35 pm

      Phillip – as we see with cladding tower blocks, risk assessment doesn’t come in to it when we are saving the planet.

  8. Green Sand permalink
    July 24, 2017 4:49 pm

    How do you carry out maintenance on a floating tower? Tow it back to Norway?

  9. Bitter&twisted permalink
    July 24, 2017 4:53 pm

    More bird mincers.
    More subsidies
    What’s not to like?

    • dave permalink
      July 24, 2017 5:00 pm

      “But what good came of it at last?”
      Quoth little Peterkin
      Why, that i cannot tell said he;

  10. July 24, 2017 6:43 pm

    Not only is Harrabin busy, but Shukman is also joining the alarmism:

    • CheshireRed permalink
      July 24, 2017 7:10 pm

      It seems to me that since Trump firstly won the White House and secondly exited ‘Paris’ there’s been full-on ramp-ups of climate hysteria. Plain as day they’re getting in as many ‘worse than previously thought’ ‘reports’ as they can to try and influence opinion, before Trump really gets medieval on their arses. I hope he doesn’t hesitate for a second.

  11. Jack Broughton permalink
    July 24, 2017 8:11 pm

    All one can say is that Norway are miles ahead of the UK in exploitation of the green dollar and in all aspects of common sense. As the wealthiest country in Europe, they could absorb wind power into their energy system easily….. but they chose us …. how selfless !

    • July 25, 2017 11:30 am

      Some of these countries are in fat city because they have not been paying their NATO dues and spending the required amount on their own defense.

      President Trump mentioned that to them when he met with NATO and at other times. Maybe some of these smarter-than-thou countries won’t have quite so much in their tills with which to play in the future.

  12. July 24, 2017 8:46 pm

    We cannot blame the developers for this idiocy. We need to vote out the monumentally stupid policy makers that make insane schemes like this possible. Unfortunately with the demise of UKIP that doesn’t leave much to choose from.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 25, 2017 1:05 pm

      I don’t think there is any choice so I opt to abstain. If only we could have conservatives like the DUP but all we get is Red Labour, Blue Labour and the also rans.

  13. July 24, 2017 10:11 pm

    The cost comparison between this floating folly and Carrington are staggering. £190m to supply 20,000 homes or £1b to supply 1,000,000 homes. Simply put the folly costs 9.5 times per home more than Carrington. How reassuring!

  14. July 25, 2017 4:02 am

    The practice of measuring power generation in “numbers of homes supplied” is little more than collusion between the green blob and the media to create obfuscation. As for the media, it is nothing more than lazy reporting, bordering on false news.
    Projected Mwatts per year is the only valid measurement.
    After all we don’t measure speed by “the number or cars passing a point per minute” do we?

  15. Max Sawyer permalink
    July 25, 2017 10:59 am

    The government’s view is that by piling “green” idiocy upon idiocy, the electorate will become anaesthetised and will just accept it all without question. “Nudging” at vast expense. And, of course, “saving the planet” and similar nonsense appeals to the naive “young people” who now seem to decide the results of elections.

  16. July 25, 2017 11:20 am

    Supplying intermittent electricity to 20,000 [UK] homes per year, for 25 years, gives a capacity factor for this 30 MW wind farm of only 30.4%, which seems a bit low.

    Offshore wind doesn’t fare well compared to Small Modular Reactors [SMRs], which are now well entrenched in the Governments Industrial Strategy:

    The 440 MW Rolls-Royce SMR [at 90% capacity factor] will supply 24/7 electricity to 868,000 homes for 60 years. It would take 43.4 of these wind farms to supply the same number of homes – for 25 years. So to supply for 60 years, it would take 43.4 x (60/25) = 104 wind farms. At £190 million each, that would cost £19.76 billion.

    We could get another Hinkley for that and that would supply 24/7 electricity to 6,316,675 homes for 60 years.

    Spending the same money on constructing nuclear power plants would deliver 7.27X more low-carbon, 24/7 electricity than the intermittent electricity from offshore wind-farms like these.

    “…The £190m cost was subsidised by bill-payers under the UK government’s Renewable Obligation Certificates…”

    I’d sooner subsidise SMRs from my bill payments – wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could pick which technology our money could go to?

  17. July 26, 2017 9:01 pm

    We know that wind turbines kill birds and bats. We also know that the low frequency sounds are detrimental to humans. What do you suppose whales and other sea creatures feel about those sounds going into the oceans?

  18. July 27, 2017 6:49 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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