First Floating Offshore Wind Farm

On October 18, 2017 Hywind, the first offshore wind farm began operation of the northeast coast of Scotland. Hywind has the potential to revolutionize the global power industry.

Winds offshore are stronger and more consistent than winds onshore. A wind turbine can generate 50% more electrical power with wind speeds of 16 miles per hour than wind speeds of 14 miles per hour. The platform to mount the individual wind turbine offshore is a major cost. A floating wind turbine reduces the cost of the platform.

Hywind was developed by Equinor a multinational energy company, headquartered in Stavanger, Norway. Equinor, formerly known as Statoil has extensive experience building floating oil and gas producing platforms around the world. Equinor believes floating offshore wind farms can generate power for less than US 3 cents per kWh, which would be the cheapest source of fuel in the world.

Electricity generation capacity is the maximum electric output an electricity generator can produce under specific conditions. Power sources with a high electricity generation capacity minimizes operating costs for a utility. In the United States, coal and natural gas fueled power plants have electricity generation capacity of 54% to 55%. Onshore wind farms have electricity generation capacity of 36% to 37%. Equinor has just announced that Hywind has achieved an electricity generation of 65% from November 2017 through January 2018.

Although Hywind is still in the initial test period, the results to date are very encouraging. In the United States, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island are pursuing offshore wind energy to replace coal-fueled power plants. If Hywind is successful, wind will become the cheapest fuel in the world, dramatically decreasing the demand for fossil fuels.

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