Construction on what will be the world’s first floating offshore wind farm to power offshore oil and gas platforms has got underway.
Equinor’s Hywind Tampen project, located around 140 km off the east coast of Norway, will provide electricity for the Snorre and Gullfaks platforms in the North Sea.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Arne Linga, an apprentice at engineering, procurement and construction services firm Kvaerner, started the cutting robot on the project’s first sheet of steel earlier today.
Kvaerner will supply the floating concrete spar substructures, which will involve around 250 full-time employees.
A study conducted by Multiconsult revealed that, in total, the Hywind Tampen project could support between 1,550 and 3,000 full-time positions in the Norwegian supply chain.
Equinor’s ambition is for floating offshore wind to be competitive with other forms of energy by 2030.
The 11-turbine Hywind Tampen is due to become operational in 2022, giving Equinor one-third of the global floating offshore wind capacity.
With 88 megawatts of combined installed capacity, the project is expected to meet about 35% of the annual power demand of the Snorre A and B, and Gullfaks A, B and C platforms, reducing greenhouse gases by an estimated 200,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of annual emissions from 100,000 vehicles.
Modifications to ensure the platforms are able to use the energy produced by Hywind Tampen will be carried out by Aberdeen-headquartered services firm Wood group.
Equinor claims the development will be an “essential step” in reducing costs for future offshore wind power projects and will act as a “test bed” for future developments.
Eldar Sætre, president and chief executive of the Norwegian energy giant, said: “Hywind Tampen is a new chapter in Norway’s narrative as an energy nation. With support from the Norwegian authorities, we’re not only building Norway’s first offshore wind project; we’re refining floating offshore wind technology along with the Norwegian supplier industry.
“Eighty percent of the world’s offshore wind resources are located in deep water areas and are available for floating offshore wind projects.
“If we can use projects like Hywind Tampen to make floating offshore wind competitive with other forms of energy, the technology will be able to deliver large-scale renewable power and contribute to a more sustainable global energy supply.
“A floating offshore wind market will also open up considerable industrial opportunities for Norwegian industry.”
Olav-Bernt Haga, Hywind Tampen project director, said: “By using larger turbines, concrete substructures, new technology and a new assembly method, we’re well on our way toward delivering on the objective to reduce costs by more than 40% compared with Hywind Scotland. This is an important step to establish floating wind as a sustainable power supply alternative.
“If more major floating offshore wind projects are realised in the future, it will be possible to reduce costs even further, and we could see a development in cost reductions equivalent to the one we’ve seen in fixed foundation offshore wind.”