Blinter, blowder, bliffert, brattle, blaster bleester, gandaguster, law, flan… – the Scots have almost as many terms for wind as they have Whsikeys distilleries. The blustery wind here on the coast of Scotland isn’t always safe for a bird like me — if I’m not careful, it can blow me way off course. But when it comes to producing energy, this strong wind is a real lifesaver.
You see, a windfarm can take the wind and make clean electricity. Cool, right? Scotland is a good example because wind and solar power have enormous potential here — but especially wind power.
The long and windy road
Right now, Scotland still gets almost half its energy from petroleum products — mostly from offshore drilling in the North Sea. But the government is planning to invest even more in alternatives for generating energy. The goal is to reduce Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 66 percent by 2032. And Scotland is well on its way. An analysis by the conservation group WWF revealed:
In June 2017, windfarms fed about 1 million megawatt hours of electricity into the grid.
That’s enough to power almost 3 million households.
A floating wind farm
But that’s not all: Scotland just recently began operating the world’s first floating offshore windfarm. Located about 25 kilometers off the country’s northeastern coastline, Hywind Scotland consists of five wind turbines, each with a capacity of 6 megawatts. The turbines are over 250 meters high, and the rotor blades have a diameter of 154 meters. That’s huge!
But what makes this windfarm so special is that it floats; it’s not fixed to the seabed. And because it floats, this technology can be used at ocean depths of over 700 meters. And that means lots of new options for windfarm locations. Just to give you an idea, conventional wind turbines can’t be fixed to the seabed at depths over 50 meters. But here’s the thing: it’s out there on the open seas where the water is deep that you get those really strong winds that can generate a lot of electricity.
A floating windfarm is a really clever idea if you ask me! And that’s not even the best part; the best part is that the experts are saying Hywind will be able to produce electricity for up to 20,000 households. I can’t wait to see how far Scotland will take this approach — maybe it will be able to go renewables-only by 2020…