A report in arsTECHNICA two days ago suggests Scotland’s offshore wind farms have massive potential to become our most economical and most efficient form of electricity generation in the coming years.
Hywind, 25km off Peterhead is the world’s first commercial floating offshore wind farm. It started sending electricity to the grid last October and had a 65% capacity over the last 3 months. Theoretically at 100% the farm would be sending 30Mw per minute though a range from 40 to 60% is more realistic.
The cost of wind power generally continues to fall dramatically as the cost of nuclear soars by around 35%. See:
The survival of offshore farms during violent storms seems, intuitively a risk factor but the Hywind farm is equipped to withstand them. Last October’s Hurricane Ophelia brought wind speeds of 125 to160km/h and waves as high as 8.2m. According to the arsTECHNICA report:
‘Whilst the wind turbines shut down for safety reasons during the worst of these winds, they automatically resumed operation promptly afterwards,” Statoil wrote. “A pitch motion controller is integrated with the Hywind turbine’s control system and will adjust the angle of the turbine blades during heavy winds which mitigates excessive motions of the structure.’
Finally, returning to cost:
‘By 2030, Statoil says, it hopes to bring the cost of floating offshore wind down to €40-60 per MWh ($50-74 per MWh).’
In sharp contrast, Hinkley Point C (Costly?) was initially guaranteed £92.50 MWh but this is inflation-linked and is already closer to £100/MWh. This guarantee also stands for 35 years. A very bad deal indeed for the UK consumer but not for us given that we must surely break away long before 35 years have passed.