Norway-headquartered energy giant Equinor has a new floating wind turbine foundation design, and it wants to launch it in a one-gigawatt (GW) Scottish offshore wind farm project.

If Equinor is successful in its bid for ScotWind, which is an offshore wind program that will lease areas of the seabed around Scotland for wind farm developments up to 10 GW, then it will use its new floating wind turbine foundation design there.

Its new design is called the Wind Semi. Equinor says it’s suitable for rough waters, like those off the Scottish coast, and it can “maximize the opportunities for the Scottish supply chain.” Equinor asserts the following about the Wind Semi:

  • Increased dependability: By introducing a passive ballast system, the Wind Semi has a simple substructure design, reducing the risk of system failure and the amount of maintenance needed
  • Simpler, more robust design: A flat plate design that is free from bracings, heave plates, and complicated nodes that are prone to fatigue cracking
  • Flexibility toward the supply chain: With a harbor draught of less than 10 m, the Wind Semi’s turbine integration can be assembled at most industrialized ports. The Wind Semi’s simpler flat plate design enables the substructure to be built in blocks that can either be fabricated locally and/or shipped from other locations. 

Sonja C. Indrebø, Equinor’s vice president of floating offshore wind, said:

We are ready to develop the next generation, large-scale commercial floating offshore wind in Scotland. By leveraging our 20 years of floating offshore wind experience and innovations, we plan to develop GW-size floating projects in one single phase. Implementing large scale projects will accelerate Scotland’s energy transition to net zero.

At 1GW, this project would be over 30 times bigger than Hywind Scotland, the UK’s and Equinor’s first floating project and have the potential to not only position Scotland as a leader in deep water technology, but also create opportunities for both existing suppliers and new entrants to the offshore wind sector.

Hywind Scotland was Equinor’s and the UK’s first floating offshore wind farm, at 30 MW. It went live in 2017.

Read more: Europe’s North Sea is getting a huge floating wind turbine


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Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.