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World's First Floating Wind Turbine Gets New Life

By  AOG Staff Tuesday, 08 January 2019 18:07
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The world's first industrial-scale floating wind prototype, Hywind 1, installed in 2009 off the west coast of Norway, will be reborn as an infrastructure for research and technology projects in Metcentre at Karmøy.

Image: Unitech Offshore
Image: Unitech Offshore

Unitech Offshore, which manufactures and distributes subsea connector assemblies, said that it has entered into an agreement with Equinor for the company to take over the Hywind demonstration floating wind turbine.

The turbine will be renamed  as “Unitech Zefyros by Hywind Technology” and used as an infrastructure for research projects, development of new technology, and for teaching and training, it said.

“When Unitech Offshore takes over the ownership and operation of the turbine, it is with pride and expectations. The pioneering work that became this historic wind turbine will be transferred to a new phase and made available for research and technology development as part of the “Sustainable Energy Ocean Test Facility” and for the benefit of all those who are concerned with Sustainable Energy at sea,” says Unitech CEO, Gunnar Birkeland.

“We are pleased that Unitech is now taking over the ownership and operation of the turbine. Hywind Demo has been very important for Equinor’s development of floating offshore wind since it came into operation 10 years ago. The fact that the turbine will continue to be used for innovation is also valuable for Equinor. Floating offshore wind will be a significant source of energy in the future and we will also test this in full-scale at our floating offshore wind farm in Scotland,” says Beate Myking, Director of Operations in New Energy Solutions at Equinor.

In 2018, Unitech, with partners, was awarded “Sustainable Energy Norwegian Catapult Center” and “Arena Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster” status which will be important arenas for the development of new technology, lower costs, and smaller footprints.

In its next phase, the turbine will play an important role as an infrastructure for research and technology projects in Metcentre at Karmøy. Examples of use are: a hub for connecting new wind turbines; development, testing and qualification of new technologies; as well as teaching and training. Unitech's Technology Center at Rubbestadneset is, in this picture, an operating center and data center where youth, college students and experts can share, learn and solve challenges.

"As a natural expansion and after many requests from our international offices, Unitech has diverged in the last 4 years into Renewable Energy Systems," it said.

Sustainable utilization of the resources in, under and above the sea requires large-scale development of electric power and Unitech has invested heavily in the design and production of electrical distribution systems adapted to the sea, and among other things, patent-pending aluminum cables based on pure Norwegian hydropower.

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