GOM Wind Energy Developer:
A Multinational Oil and
by Laurie Schreiber
According to Statoil’s website, the international oil, gas and alternative energy company has been in operation for more than 35 years and now has operations in 36 countries. The company has more than 20,000 employees worldwide. Statoil North America is a subsidiary of the parent company and has its headquarters in Connecticut.
The Hywind project began as a natural segue from Statoil’s experience in deep-water operations, according to Statoil’s application.
“With more than 35 years of experience gained from offshore oil and gas operations on the Norwegian continental shelf, and as the world’s largest deep-water operation, Statoil sees a unique opportunity in using this competence to build a position in the growing offshore wind market,” the application says.
Hywind began as a demonstration concept off Norway in 2009, when the company commissioned the construction and development of a demonstration project to test a full-scale floating wind turbine, the world’s first such structure, according to the website. The turbine started operation in 2010.
The primary intention of the demo concept, the website says, was to test how wind and waves affect the floating structure that carries the wind turbine. The floating structure consists of a steel cylinder filled with a ballast of water and rocks. It extends about 300 feet beneath the sea’s surface and is attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread.
The demo project proved successful, the website says:
“Through the first two years of testing, the concept has been verified, and it continually exceeds performance beyond expectations. With few operational challenges, excellent production output, and well-functioning technical systems the Hywind concept could revolutionize the future of offshore wind.”
The goal now, says the website, is “to commercialize the concept, by developing a supplier market to reduce costs so that floating wind power can compete in the energy market.”
According to the application, “Statoil intends to build upon the Hywind Demo experience, expand economies of scale, and further optimize the Hywind technology concept through the installation an operation of a multi-turbine offshore wind park that incorporates larger turbine units.”
The application for the Maine site came in response to a Request for Proposals issued by the Maine Public Utilities Commission in 2010, the application says.
According to BOEM, the Hywind Maine project would ultimately lead to “build-out of a full-scale, deepwater floating wind turbine facility.”
The full scale development would be subject to a subsequent and separate lease issuance process, BOEM said.