In Energy Voice today:
The final push for the world’s largest floating wind farm off Aberdeen is underway, with a giant foundation making the first leg of its journey. Boskalis said transportation of the third giant foundation from Spain to the Netherlands last week, later destined for Aberdeen, begins a phase which will see the six-turbine Kincardine Offshore Windfarm “take shape in the coming months”.
The Kincardine Floating Offshore Wind project, 15 km off the coast of Aberdeen, is the world’s largest array of floating turbines. It establishes Scotland’s leading position in both development and deployment of offshore wind farms.
The Kincardine array’s first turbine started generating in 2018 and the project is on track to be completed by late summer 2020 The project consists of 1 x 2 MW Vestas V80 and and 5 x 9.5 MW. The Kincardine project uses steel semi-submersible floating foundations of the PPI design. The project aims to prove both the technological and the commercial readiness of floating offshore wind, and in thus is a true pioneer in the industry.
The 50 MW Kincardine project demonstration project will be the world’s largest grid connected demonstration programme for a number of years. It will generate approximately 220 GWh of electricity per year, enough to power 55,000 homes in Scotland, which would save 94,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent over fossil-fuelled electricity generation.
Why is Scotland not building the foundations or the turbines?
I feel sure the answer will be complex and nuanced but attempts to lay the blame at the door of the Scottish Government will ignore the long history of de-industrialisation, the loss of skills, the denial of investment and the political incompetence, which began 40 years ago as the Thatcher regime sought to transform the UK economy into one based on services and to destroy the unionised manufacturing sector.
The idea that a devolved administration without full fiscal autonomy could even begin to turn that around and begin to compete with Denmark or Spain, is ill-informed.
Had Scotland been an independent nation in 1980, how differently might this have turned out?
In the early 1980s, James Howden & Co Ltd in Glasgow was at the forefront of wind turbine manufacturing, supplying the UK’s first wind turbine in the utility industry. However, the company lost Government support and stopped producing turbines in 1989. The main beneficiaries were the Danish manufacturing industry, who were also early adopters and heavily backed by Government.