Norwegian energy major Statoil has agreed to sell a 25% stake in its Hywind Scotland floating wind turbine project to renewable energy company Masdar, based in Abu Dhabi.

The companies say their partnership to develop 30 megawatts capacity from anchored floating turbines in 300’ to 400’ depths 15 miles off Peterhead, Scotland, could broaden global opportunities for deepwater offshore wind energy production. Both will share the risk and Masdar is covering 25% of costs.

"The Hywind Scotland pilot park has the potential to open attractive new markets for renewable energy production worldwide,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice president for new energy solutions. “With Masdar onboard as a strong strategic partner we are teaming up with a company with high ambitions within renewable energy. We believe Masdar can be a strong partner also in future Hywind projects and we hope that our collaboration will result in future value creation opportunities for both parties.”

Those kinds of multinational partnerships are likely to be players in U.S. waters, if large offshore wind leases are developed into the 2020s.  Statoil is the provisional winner of a nearly 80,000 acre wind energy lease off New York, after bidding a record $42 million, by far the biggest price ever for a federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind lease.

BOEM lease areas along the U.S. East Coast are in relatively shallow waters of the continental shelf where turbine foundations can be emplaced on the sea floor. Floating turbines could open deepwater sites farther offshore and the Hywind Scotland array would be a proof of concept.

“With fixed turbines, offshore wind is optimal for 20-50 meters (65’ to 165’) water depth. With floating structures such as Hywind further expansion will be enabled in new deep water areas around the world,” according to Statoil.

The substructures have been built in Spain, and will arrive at a Statoil yard in Stord, Norway, in the spring for further assembly before transport to Peterhead in summer. The turbines are expected to be producing power by the end of 2017.

Statoil's Hywind Scotland project will use anchored floating wind turbines instead of seafloor foundations. Statoil image.

Statoil's Hywind Scotland project will use anchored floating wind turbines instead of seafloor foundations. Statoil image.

“Hywind Scotland represents the next stage in the evolution of the offshore wind industry, combining the project management experience and technical expertise of one of the world’s largest offshore energy players — and our own capabilities in renewable energy development acquired over the last decade in the U.K. and international markets,” said Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi.

Masdar and Statoil are already partners in the Dudgeon wind farm off Norfolk in the United Kingdom, anticipated to come online during 2017. Statoil has moved to diversify into renewable energy with a goal of powering 1 million homes in Europe, acquiring a 40% share in the Sheringham Shoal wind farm in the U.K., and 50% of the Arkona offshore wind farm in Germany, coming online 2019.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.