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StatoilHydro to Build First Full-Scale Floating Wind Turbine

The HyWind floating turbine. Click to enlarge.

StatoilHydro will build the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine, Hywind, and test it over a two-year period offshore Karmøy, Norway. (Earlier post.) The company is investing approximately 400 million NOK (US$80 million) in the project, and plans to have the floating turbine in operation in autumn 2009.

Wind is strongest and most consistent far out to sea, making deepwater placement of wind turbines attractive for power generation. StatoilHydro has developed HyWind based on floating concrete constructions familiar from North Sea oil installations—HyWind consists of a 2.3 MW wind turbine attached to the top of a Spar-buoy.

The rotor blades on the 138-tonne floating wind turbine will have a diameter of 80 meters, and the nacelle will be 65 meters above the sea surface. The floatation element will have a draft of some 100 meters below the sea surface, and will be moored to the seabed using three anchor points. The wind turbine can be located in waters with depths ranging from 120 to 700 meters.

Taking wind turbines to sea presents new opportunities. The wind is stronger and more consistent, areas are large and the challenges we are familiar with from onshore projects are fewer.

—Alexandra Bech Gjørv, head of New Energy in StatoilHydro.

The pilot project will be assembled in Åmøyfjorden near Stavanger and is to be located some 10 kilometers offshore Karmøy in the county of Rogaland. The wind turbine itself is to be built by Siemens, with which StatoilHydro has entered into a technology development agreement. The wind turbines must function optimally even in large waves.

Technip will build the floatation element and have responsibility for the installation offshore. Nexans will lay cables to shore, and Haugaland Kraft will be responsible for the landfall. Enova is supporting the project with 59 million NOK.

A three-meter high model has already been tested successfully in SINTEF Marintek’s wave simulator in Trondheim. The goal of the pilot is to qualify the technology and reduce costs to a level that will mean that floating wind turbines can compete with other energy sources.

StatoilHydro is the world’s largest deepwater operator and the world’s third largest net seller of crude oil.



I wonder if they can combine off shore wind with wave power generators?

Harvey D


A very good question and why not use wave power installations to stabilize the platform at the same time. They will need very special cabling to move the energy out of the platform.


windy places tend to have a lot of waves. It sounds like the perfect combination.
80 million dollars to produce and monitor just one 2.3 MW unit??
How much will one actually cost once they have an assembly line?


I'm sure it is not the engineers who are timid to try to combine wind and wave energy extraction. It is probably the financiers who want to take baby steps.

Bring me fusion

I question the legitimacy of this. The farther out you go into the sea, the more costly it becomes to distribute that energy back to shore.

If only Tesla were able to figure out that whole, wireless energy transmission idea. =)


It's obvious it would be foolish to use them in any coastal areas where hurricanes or typhoons might occur.


Offshore wind energy offers a potential of energy far superior to inland wind, the problem is the cost as sea installation are costly to install and maintain plus the sea is an extremely agressive environment (storm, waves, corrosion). Also the quantity of cable you need to connect the windmills to the grid add to the cost, submarine cables are very expensive. But 2 decades from now energy will be expensive anyway so, go!

Healthy Breaze

My assumption is that they will put these in clusters and share a single power cable to shore. It would be easier to have wave energy generators nearby, but not all-in-one.

Everything said about the obstacles of the marine environment is fair. However, Statoil has made a pretty penny producing oil in that environment, and if anyone can do offshore wind, it would be them.

Rob Weir

Coal Burner

Figures quoted for new UK Offshore Wind proposals range around 2-3 million GBP(UK Pounds) per installed MW (nameplate capacity rating). Roughly 3 times the onshore costs. Costs are currently rising due to current supply shortages.


The demand for wind turbines is so high, that the prices have increased a lot.
The price of land-based turbines has increased 74% in the past three years !!


Certainly at this stage this application is very expensive. Question is can offshore wave and wind farms be build and maintained profitably? Given the influx of new energy technology - some of these systems will shake out. However, if we consider the $$ billions already invested in offshore drilling and maintenance - these new technologies look far more reasonable.


I wonder how they cope with the torque around the Z-axis unsteady wind will most likely cause, with the usual upstream facing of the rotor (upstream into the wind from the mast, that is).

A uncommon downstream placement of the rotor might be beneficial, as they wouldn't have to work against the wind, trying to push the rotor sideways...


At 1.5 million per mile of cabling, perhaps microwave transmitted power becomes acceptable at a certain point? Sure Microwave transmitters will have more loss (~30% of the energy will be lost transmitted and received) but its cost barely go up with distance.

lance sjogren

I thought I saw something a while back about putting windmills on oil rigs off the shore of Texas.

I guess maybe what's new here is that it is a floating rig rather than one anchored to the seabed?


The next step in this is to couple the turbine farms with some barge-based energy-intensive commodity manufacturing machine. For winning aluminum, making ammonia, making synthetic fuels (e.g. for passing ships), harvesting minerals from the sea, that sort of thing.

Now, you can push these farms as far out to sea as you want (using active stationkeeping if necessary, or just drifting with the gyres) so the whole sea is your resource base. Siting is not an issue and will never hold up turbine production. You can be nomadic--moving to get out of the way of ship traffic, people who object, migrating whales or icebergs, to stay close to the best market of the day, or to just follow the seasons or weather forecast and sieze the best wind. Capacity factor "fact of life" limit rules were meant to be broken.

Horizontal beams can be used to join turbines into clusters, minimizing or eliminating the need for anchor cables (and helping to deal with heeling). The beams could form a a ring, so the turbines can be arranged by suspension in a net of cables inside the ring. (Two nets, upper and lower.)

Underwater kites could grip the currents or act as your keel.

Costs could be minimized by using telepresence robotics, so that most workers can stay where costs are lower, onshore.

Oh yea, expect fights. Especially from, uhm, oil and gas companies. But at least Norway is non-OPEC, and they do know that they're past peak oil and if they want to stay in the energy business, this is the way to do it. North of the sun belt, anyway.

Aanund Ottesen

The technology shown at uses a hybrid wave and wind power rig and will harvest more energy at less cost, compared to the SWAY technology.
Calculation shows less then half the price and hopefully the monney will be used at the best technology.
That is what I hope.


Nothing on Energia del Portugal (EDP) and the WAVEPOWER ?

Account Deleted

I am really amazed in Wind energy. I think it is an economical power resource and does not produce air or water pollution. So for me, it is really great!

Energy Idealist - Renewable Energy Jobs

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