Statoil outlines plans for U.S. offshore wind pilot project

Norway-based Statoil is seeking to develop Hywind Maine, a pilot project to test the feasibility of floating wind turbines off the coast of Maine, USA, in waters 460 to 520 ft deep.

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Oil and gas exploration firm Statoil (Stavanger, Norway) reported in June about its efforts to develop Hywind Maine, a pilot project to test the feasibility of floating wind turbines off the coast of Maine, USA. Statoil is seeking to build four floating wind turbines in federal waters about 12 miles off the coast of Maine in water ranging from 460 to 520 ft (140 to 158m) deep. 

The turbines will consist of a tower that extends 250 ft/76m below the surface of the ocean; this foundation will then be anchored to the sea bottom with three anchor lines. Each 3-MW turbine will sit atop the tower about 230 ft/70m from the surface of the water, turned by blades with a rotor diameter of about 330 ft/100m. A subsea cable will connect the pilot project to the regional electric transmission grid onshore.

Hywind Maine builds on the success of Statoil's Hywind Demo, the world's first full-scale floating wind turbine, which was deployed in waters 650 ft/198m deep off the coast of Norway in 2009. Statoil believes that the same floating turbine principles can be deployed off the coast of Maine.

Statoil says it will spend the rest of 2012 concluding a commercial feasibility assessment, followed in 2013-2014 by concept and supplier selection, a final investment decision in 2014, and then installation and in-service date in 2016. Statoil says it will conduct a study of environmental impact and use local suppliers whenever possible.