Norway greenlights Equinor's 88MW floating wind project

The project will supply power to five offshore oil platforms, including Snorre A (pictured). Credit: Equinor
The project will supply power to five offshore oil platforms, including Snorre A (pictured). Credit: Equinor

The wind array, set to come online in late 2022, will meet 35 per cent of the power needs of five offshore oil platforms, according to Equinor

Norway's petroleum ministry has approved plans for an 88MW floating wind project set to power state-backed oil company Equinor's offshore operations in the North Sea.

The Hywind Tampen project, which has been in the works since 2018, will see 11 floating turbines constructed in water as deep as 300 metres, around 150km from the shore.

Equinor said in a statement last week that it expects the project to offset more than 200,000 tonnes of carbon annually and supply roughly 35 per cent of the power demand for the five offshore oil platforms it will service.

"Hywind Tampen is a pioneering project and a central contribution to reducing emissions from Gullfaks and Snorre, and I am pleased that both ESA and Norwegian authorities have approved the project," said Equinor's executive vice-president for development and production in Norway, Arne Sigve Nylund. "We are experiencing very challenging times, and we are focusing on continuing our transition effort while attending to and developing the value on the Norwegian continental shelf and at the same time reducing the climate footprint from our operations."

The project will cost almost NOK5bn (£393m) to build, Equinor said, with the Norwegian authorities agreeing to provide up to NOK2.3bn (£181m) through Enova, an enterprise that supports green technology projects. The NOx fund, a Norwegian industry fund dedicated to reducing emissions, has pledged a further NOK566m (£44m) to the project.

The project will come online in late 2022, Equinor said.

The move follows the company's early January pledge to achieve 'net zero' greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, which was backed by plans for NOK50bn (£3.9bn) of investment in reducing CO2 and methane emissions at its onshore and offshore oil fields over the next 10 years. The firm is 67 per cent owned by the Norwegian government and is the largest oil and gas exploration company in Scandinavia.

The project is not Equinor's first dalliance with floating wind, a fledgling sector that allows the development of wind farms in deep waters where wind power yields are greater but constructing fixed-foundation structures is far more challenging. The firm already has a 25 per cent stake in the pioneering 30MW Hywind offshore wind farm off the coast of Scotland, reportedly the first floating wind facility in operation worldwide.

Norway's North Sea is fast becoming a hotspot for floating wind. Less than two weeks ago, an Iberdrola-led consortium unveiled separate plans tto build a 10MW floating turbine in Norwegian waters.

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