After a deal in the Norwegian Parliament, Norway is to proceed with demonstration projects for floating offshore wind energy, a decision that met with approval from the CEO of Norway’s shipowners’ association
December 2017 saw the Storting, Norway’s Parliament, approve a resolution calling for one or possibly two offshore demonstration sites for floating wind energy.
The goal behind the decision is not to provide renewable energy for the Norwegian grid, but to demonstrate the Norwegian industry’s capability in this sector. Norwegian industry associations have been pushing for demonstration projects for some time.
Norway has world-leading expertise in offshore and marine operations and in floating structures. Statoil, the country’s state oil company, was a key player in the development of Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore windfarm.
In a statement, the Ministry of Petroleum said “The government wishes to accommodate offshore wind power, in particular demonstrations of floating wind turbines.” The statement went on to say that the government wanted the demos to go ahead “as soon as possible”, but no timeframe was provided. It is anticipated that potential demonstration sites first identified in 2013 may be revisited.
As reported earlier this year by OWJ, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association – many of whose members own and operate offshore vessels – said it supported a proposal that the government in Norway should promote the realisation of demonstration projects for floating offshore wind.
“The association sees the need to map out opportunities for public financing of a pilot installation for floating offshore wind and the establishment of standards for certification and verification of offshore wind,” said the association. It noted that wind energy is a significant industry in Europe.
In 2016, the Norwegian Government gave tacit approval for offshore wind demonstration projects of the type that are already being undertaken in other countries.
Speaking exclusively to OWJ, the chief executive of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Harald Solberg, said the association was “delighted” with the development and glad that the Norwegian Government wants to accommodate the development of offshore wind technology in Norway.
“Norwegian companies are well placed to exploit opportunities in the fast-growing offshore wind market,” Mr Solberg told OWJ. “Many Norwegian shipowners are already playing a role in various segments of that industry.
“The potential is huge,” he said. “In fact, together with Norwegian Energy Partners, the Federation of Norwegian Industries and Export Credit Norway, we have valued the Norwegian supply chain opportunities in offshore wind at just under €3 billion per GW of installed capacity.
“However, for many small and medium-sized suppliers, it can be challenging to position themselves in a new market internationally without a home market where they can develop their technologies and services. The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association therefore supports the development of a full-scale floating offshore wind demonstration project in Norway.
“At a time when things are difficult in most of our markets, it is necessary that Norwegian politicians not only maintain predictable and competitive policies but that they also support innovation, technology development and growth in new markets.”
Shortly after the announcement about the demonstration project plan, Norway’s state oil company, Statoil, which has a small but growing interest in offshore wind energy – including Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore windfarm – confirmed that it might well bid to develop such as site.
“If there are [offshore wind] opportunities in Norway with a relevant incentive structure that makes it profitable, that’s obviously something that we will assess,” Eldar Sætre, Statoil’s chief executive told Reuters, although he noted that “it would have to be subsidised, definitely, for a long time”.
Statoil began feeding electricity into the grid from Hywind Scotland in October 2017.