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Statoil Wins Lease Deal for First U.K. Floating Wind Farm

Statoil ASA moved closer to building Europe’s largest floating wind farm after abandoning a similar project in Maine.

The Norwegian energy producer won a lease agreement to install five wind turbines at a site off Scotland, the U.K.’s Crown Estate said in a website statement. The venture will be Britain’s first floating wind farm, it said.

Statoil is focusing on Scotland after exiting a similar venture in Maine citing contract terms and project delays. The company is using the floating technology because it allows access to deeper waters where conventional offshore turbines can’t function. Japan has spearheaded its development after the 2011 Fukushima disaster led to nuclear-reactor shutdowns.

“Scotland has a huge offshore wind resource but to maximize this opportunity we need to move into deeper water,” John Swinney, Scottish cabinet secretary for finance, employment and sustainable growth, said in the statement dated Nov. 23.

Statoil’s 30-megawatt venture is planned for the Buchan Deep site, about 20 to 30 kilometers (12 to 19 miles) off Peterhead in Aberdeenshire where waters are more than 100 meters deep. The company is seeking government approval before making an investment decision, according to the Crown Estate, which manages Britain’s seabed.

Statoil’s technology involves attaching turbines to steel cylinders that are fastened to the seabed with mooring lines. The structures float in areas too deep for traditional towers to be fixed to the seafloor. The project is the next phase of Statoil’s Hywind project, the world’s first full-scale floating turbine that has operated off Norway since 2009.

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