Six turbines floating up to 80 metres above the North Sea bed have started spinning current into Britain’s grid, developers Grupo Cobra have confirmed.
Hailed as the world’s biggest floating wind farm, the 50 MW Kincardine field 15 km off Aberdeenshire is composed of one 2 MW mast and its five 9.52 MW sisters, courtesy of Vestas.
Confirmation of Kincardine’s commissioning on Tuesday came just before RWE revealed plans to spend £ 15 Bn on generation in the UK this decade, focussing on wind, green hydrogen and grid-scale storage.
Lord Nicol Stephen and Allan MacAskill initiated the Kincardine project in 2014. Two years later as Flotation Energy, they sold a 90% share to Spain’s Grupo Cobra. The Scots pair are now investigating offshore locations around Japan promising 300 MW and more.
Kincardine is now generating the first of 200 GWh every year flowing to Norway’s nationalised Statkraft under an offtake deal running until 2029.
California-based Principle Power designed and delivered Kincardine’s eighteen WindFloat semi-submersible collars.
Jose Antonio Fernández, senior manager at Cobra’s wind division, enthused: “The Kincardine project is not only the world’s largest (but) also a fantastic foundation for other joint venture projects between Cobra and Flotation Energy.
“Our Round 4 success with the 480MW Morecambe project, our 7GW of bids into the Scotwind leasing round and our White Cross 100MW floating project in the South West are all signs of our confidence in Scotland and the UK.
“Floating wind is set for massive growth in the future – and we want to do more”, Fernández added.
Aaron Smith, Principle Power’s chief commercial officer, said: “Kincardine is further showing the readiness and commercial potential of floating technology.
“With eighty percent of the world’s offshore wind resources in deep waters, floating technologies like the WindFloat open several new geographies to harness their boundless supply of clean energy.
Offshore wind in its fixed variant is the core of RWE’s £ 15 billion investment focus for the UK before 2030. That sum includes £ 5 billion already committed to stakes in the 1.4 GW Sofia and 1.2 GW Triton Knoll farms.
The German-rooted giant says it already ranks third among Britain’s renewables generators.
Four other farms in UK waters are on RWE’s drawing boards, with the German utility taking a pro rata 1.3 GW stake. RWE is preferred bidder for a pro rata 1.2 GW in two plots in the latest phase of Dogger Bank. When completed, the 3.6 GW North Sea project will be the world’s biggest wind farm.
Floating turbines in Scots and Irish waters may follow.
RWE chief executive Markus Krebber said: “We see the UK as an attractive location for ongoing investments. It represents a stable regulatory framework and has great natural wind resources”.