The project, which involves installation of five floating 6MW turbines at 25km off the coast of Peterhead, is said to be the largest of its kind in the world.

Planned to be operational in 2017, the proposed Hywind Scotland facility is designed to have an annual generation capacity of around 135GWh and power up to 19,900 houses.

Statoil intends to commence onshore construction work in 2015-16, followed by offshore construction in 2016-17.

Statoil new energy solutions executive vice president Irene Rummelhoff said: "Floating wind represents a new, significant and increasingly competitive renewable energy source.

"Statoil’s objective with developing this pilot park is to demonstrate a commercial, utility-scale floating wind solution, to further increase the global market potential.

"We are proud to develop this unique project in Scotland, in a region that has optimal wind conditions, a strong supply chain within oil and gas and supportive public policies."

Carbon Trust, a not-for-dividend company that helps organizations reduce their carbon emissions, estimates that floating wind concepts have the potential to reduce generating costs to below £100/MWh in commercial deployments, with the leading concepts such as Hywind, with even lower costs of £85-£95MWh.

A three-point mooring spread and anchoring system will be used to attach the Hywind floating wind farm to the seabed while the turbines are connected though inter-array of cables.

Power generated is then transferred via an export cable from the wind farm to shore at Peterhead.

Scottish Enterprise energy and clean technologies director Maggie McGinlay said: "We’ve been working closely with our companies to directly link them with Statoil for some considerable time to ensure they are in the best position possible to take advantage of the significant opportunities we know this development will bring.

Statoil has been operating a single floating offshore turbine, Hywind, in Norway since 2009.

Image: The turbines at Hywind floating wind farm will connected by an inter-array of cables. Photo: courtesy of The Scottish Government.