The world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine has been towed to its final destination and is ready to be moored to the seabed, says Norwegian firm Statoil Hydro.

The 2.3 MW unit reached the site off the coast of Norway in early June and will be prepared for a two-year testing period that is scheduled to start in the autumn.

The wind turbine – known as Hywind – combines technologies from the oil and gas industry as well as the wind sector and opens up the possibility for wind energy to be captured from deepwater environments. StatoilHydro is investing around NOK400 million in the concept, supported with NOK59 million from Norway’s Enova SF.

The wind turbine can be placed at ocean depths of between 120 and 700 m and consists of a steel jacket filled with ballast and fastened to the seabed by three anchor piles. The wind turbine has been built by Siemens, while Technip built the floating elements and was in charge of the offshore installation.

Nexans will install the cable to shore and Haugaland Kraft will be responsible for the landfall.

The development of the Hywind points to the possibility of moving offshore wind farms a long way from the shore so that they are out of sight and would not interfere with radar operations, the fishing industry, bird life and shipping. The other advantage of deepwater environments is that the wind conditions are more consistent.

“It is a project with huge potential,” said Alexandra Bech Gjørv, Head of New Energy at StatoilHydro. “We think that offshore wind is going to be a big market segment … we have a lot to offer.”

The 138 tonne structure is to be commissioned over the summer while the two-year testing period will provide Statoil Hydro with valuable knowledge to help it to perfect the technology. The turbine must be able to operate well in large wave conditions while engineers must be able to carry out maintenance to the highest of safety standards.