Norway’s massive offshore floating wind farm will power oil and gas production

Yes, you read that right.
Ameya Paleja
The wind turbines being installed at Hywind TampenEquinor

Norway has begun the construction of the world's largest offshore floating wind farm off its western coast to power production from nearby oil and gas fields, Electrek reported.   

Offshore floating wind energy plants could be quite beneficial in the North Sea where wind speeds are historically high. Last year, we reported how Scotland's offshore floating 50 MW wind farm capable of powering 55,000 households was being readied for operation. As the year drew to a close, another wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire in the U.K. with a capacity to generate 1.3 GW of energy also went live. 

It would hardly be a surprise a little up north and towards the east, Norway is also working to tap into these winds. 

The world's largest offshore floating windfarm

Called the Hywind Tampen, the floating wind farm has a planned capacity of 88 MW and consists of 11 wind turbines constructed on a floating concrete structure anchored using a shared system, a project press release states

The project is located 87 miles (140 km) off Norway's coast and the turbines will remain afloat at a water depth of 853 - 984 feet (260-300 m). So far, four of the 11 wind turbines have already been installed which were upgraded from their planned 8 MW capacity to 8.6 MW capacity. Production of power is expected to begin from the third quarter of 2022 and the entire capacity will be used to partially meet the energy demands of the Snorre and Gullfaks offshore oil and gas fields. 

Equinor, a Norwegian power company and one of the partners in the project claims that the floating wind farm will meet approximately 35 percent of the annual energy demand of the fossil fuel platforms while offsetting 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and 1,000 tonnes of NOx emissions every year. 

The press release also states that the project will also aid in industrializing solutions and reducing costs for future offshore wind power projects. 

Why oil and gas? 

When operational, the Hywind Tampen project will oversee a reduced usage of the gas-powered turbine at the oil and gas fields in the region. While this is a welcome step, it also points to a few problems in the long run. 

While Norway leads the world in the adoption of electric cars, it is also the fifth largest exporter of oil and third-largest exporter of natural gas, the Nordic Energy Research website states. Petroleum products account for 60 percent of Norway's exports and it is unlikely that the country will switch this to meet the EU's climate goals.    

By investing in a project that makes a polluting project a little bit greener, Norway is hoping to continue its oil exploration for much longer and with added capacity in the future, the country could even claim that its production process is 100 percent green. 

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