Scotland map Hywind 300

The World's first floating wind park began operations off the coast of Scotland in October 2017 and will deliver electricity to over 20,000 households in Great Britain. Three suction anchors safely secures each of the five wind turbines to the seabed. NGI evaluated the ground conditions and performed the detailed design of the anchors.

"Our expertise gained through decades of offshore foundation solutions has now helped realise an environmentally friendly offshore wind farm. This project is a substantial leap forward with renewable energy, and it makes me proud to contribute to the shift towards green, renewable energy," says Thomas Langford, interim Director Offshore Energy at NGI.

NGI and Statoil pioneered the technology of using suction anchors for offshore structures on an industrial scale during the 1990's. More than one hundred oil and gas installations and fixed bottom offshore wind turbines worldwide have successfully utilised the suction anchor technology to safely anchor and support their foundations.

Sustainable buckets

Suction anchors, in contrast to steel piles, have the advantage of silent installation, thus avoiding disturbance of the marine environment. They can also be easily removed at the end of their lifetime, when the offshore structure they support is being decommissioned.

"The planned area of the wind farm was carefully surveyed and NGI conducted advanced laboratory testing of the retrieved soil samples. Ground conditions were found to be well-suited to suction anchors," says Technical Lead - Knut Schrøder, with his many years of experience of fixed and floating offshore installations.

"Rough seas and powerful winds expose wind turbines to enormous forces. The main advantage of suction anchors is their ability to resist high loads together with their straightforward, environmentally friendly installation. This represents an excellent solution for next-generation wind turbines, which will only increase in size and capacity," says Schrøder.

Each anchor resembles an upturned bucket. Water is pumped out creating a vacuum inside, which makes the bucket penetrate down into the seabed. The suction anchors at Hywind are 5 metres in diameter and penetrate 15 meters into the seabed.

Statoil is planning more offshore wind farms around the world based on Hywind technology. There are also plans to harness the power from floating wind turbines for the electrification of existing production platforms.

Hywind image anchoring Statoil 590

 
Each anchor resembles an upturned bucket. Water is pumped out creating a vacuum inside, which makes the bucket penetrate down into the seabed. The suction anchors at Hywind are 5 metres in diameter and penetrate 15 meters into the seabed.

Statoil is planning more offshore wind farms around the world based on Hywind technology. There are also plans to harness the power from floating wind turbines for the electrification of existing production platforms.

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FACTS

  • The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, officially opened Hywind Scotland and began operating in October 2017.
  • The wind park is located 25 km offshore from Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.
  • Statoil is operator in partnership with Masdar. Read and see more about Hywind.
  • Delivers 30 MW electricity, meeting the needs of about 20,000 homes in the UK.
  • Consists of five floating wind turbines with a total height of 253 metres, where 78 metres are below sea level.
  • Three suction anchors safely secures each of the turbines to the seabed. This technology is based on cooperative work between NGI and Statoil during the 1980's and 90's.
  • NGI conducted extensive advanced laboratory testing and numerical analyses that provided the basis for the design of the suction anchors.
  • NGI's contractual partner has been Aibel. Aibel has had several assignments for Statoil in connection with the completion and installation of the wind park. Read about Aibel's work at Hywind.
  • The first prototype of Hywind was constructed in Norway in 2009 on assignment from Statoil.