Norway’s minister of petroleum and energy, Terje Søviknes, is to open two areas on the Norwegian continental shelf for offshore wind projects.
“The industry has called for a demonstration and pilot project. 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,” Mr Søviknes said.
He was speaking at the 2018 Energy Outlook conference in Arendal, an annual conference hosted by GCE NODE, The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association and The Federation of Norwegian Industries.
“A part of our offshore wind strategy is to strengthen the supplier industry. I don’t expect to see a lot of offshore windfarms 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,” Mr Søviknes told delegates.
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate has identified four areas that are suitable for offshore wind. Mr Søviknes said the government will decide on which two areas should be developed later this year.
It is anticipated that at least one project, possibly both, will be connected to an oil and gas facility, to which it could provide electricity, rather than transmitting the power ashore.
Mr Søviknes said that for Equinor, Norway’s state-owned oil and gas company, which recently ventured into offshore wind, there are two main drivers for the projects. One is to further develop offshore wind competence. The other is to reduce emissions by replacing gas with wind as a source of power generation for an offshore platform.
In 2017, Equinor opened Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore windfarm.
At the 2017 conference, Equinor’s executive vice president of new energy solutions Irene Rummelhoff called for a Norwegian offshore wind project. She noted that Norwegian companies had been preoccupied with the offshore oil and gas industry when the oil price was high, and many had not taken part in offshore wind development as a result. She said they had fallen behind and were “currently having a hard time catching up.”
In June 2018 the minister met with companies to discuss the plan for pilot projects.
December 2017 saw the Storting, Norway’s Parliament, approve a resolution calling for one or possibly two offshore demonstration sites for floating wind energy, a proposal supported by the Norwegian Shipowners Association.
“The results from Equinor’s Hywind project were very encouraging and a Norwegian floating windfarm would reinforce our position in the market,” Mr Søviknes concluded.