THE world’s first floating offshore wind farm could be built in Scotland, it has emerged.
Experts say the move would help promote the country’s reputation as a global leader in offshore wind production.
It is claimed that placing turbines on semi-submersible platforms would cut construction and installation costs.
Aberdeen-based Pilot Offshore Renewables aims to moor eight floating wind turbines ten miles off the Kincardineshire coast, south of Aberdeen.
The Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project could be the world’s first floating wind farm, if plans are approved.
The company behind it wants to start construction in the second quarter of 2016 and have the wind farm operating by the end of 2017.
Floating wind farms have the advantage of being able to operate in deeper water not accessible to standard wind farm structures.
The turbines are less likely to generate complaints about their visual impact, being further offshore, and can be sited to be less disruptive to shipping lanes and fishing areas.
The site is 18 miles from US billionaire Donald Trump’s golf development at Balmedie. In February, Trump lost his court battle against the Scottish Government’s approval for an offshore wind farm he claimed would blight the view from his luxury Scottish golf resort at the Menie estate.
Last night, developers admitted it was possible wind turbines for the demonstration floating wind farm could be seen from shore but that this “would depend on visibility conditions.” Future wind farms could be positioned further out to sea.
The scheme could provide up to 50 megawatts of power, routed through the Redmoss power station south of Aberdeen.
Pilot Offshore Renewables, which is developing the project in a joint venture with Mac- Askill Associates and Renewable Energy Ventures (Offshore), aims to have the wind farm fully commissioned by the end of 2017.
Public consultation begins over the next few weeks.
Allan MacAskill, director of Pilot Offshore Renewables, said: “This is an exciting project that will demonstrate the potential of floating technology in the global offshore wind industry. The semi-submersible design has been successfully tested off the coast of Portugal for more than three years.
“This technology could have huge worldwide potential, as it is suitable for deployment out of sight from land, in deep waters. We believe that this, along with other offshore demonstration projects around our coast, will further Scotland’s position as a global leader in offshore wind.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, welcoming the proposed demonstration site, said: “Floating wind farms are going to be an important technology in harnessing Scotland’s huge wind power potential because of the deep water around our coast.”