The Norwegian energy minister has said a version of the Scottish Hywind floating wind project would be welcome off Norway’s coast.
Terje Søviknes said Equinor’s North Sea project 25km offshore from Peterhead was “very encouraging”, adding that “a Norwegian floating wind farm would reinforce our position in this market”.
The minister of petroleum and energy said Norway would open two areas in the Norwegian North Sea for offshore wind believed to be previously earmarked for oil and gas exploitation.
He told the 2018 Energy Outlook conference in Arendal, an annual conference hosted by GCE, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association and Federation of Norwegian Industries that at least four sites were being considered long term.
Søviknes told the energy conference: “The industry has called for a demonstration and pilot facility. It will be a place to innovate and learn, enabling Norwegian technology and competence to develop in order to compete in a quickly evolving and growing global market.”
Søviknes said Equinor had two main drivers for the projects: to further develop offshore wind competence and to reduce emissions by replacing gas with wind to power an offshore platform.
“A part of our offshore wind strategy is to strengthen the supplier industry. I don’t expect to see a lot of offshore windmills in Norway. We have far more accessible and unexploited wind resources onshore, but it is important to develop the industry in a new segment that has great global potential.”
It was anticipated that at least one project, possibly both, would be connected to an oil and gas rig, to provide electricity, rather than transmitting power from the coast.
An Equinor spokeswoman said: “Equinor believe the potential for floating wind is big. On a global scale, close to 80 per cent of the resource potential is in deep waters, too deep for bottom-fixed wind.
“Also in Norway the potential is good and wind conditions good. However, we are lucky to have approximately 98 per cent of the electricity from hydropower. Yet one could think that floating offshore wind could power offshore installation by replacing gas turbines, hence reducing the carbon dioxide emissions.”
In June, Equinor said Hywind had become the most “energy available” offshore wind farm in the UK since it opened last September.
The company said the unique wind farm beat the industry average for energy availability for four out of its first six months in operation.
Hywind manager Halvor Hoen Hersleth said: “We have shown that we can compete, and even beat, more conventional offshore wind turbines.”
It is time the Hywind model was copied. Picture credit: YouTube