World's largest floating wind farm is now powering gas and oil production

It will be used to power oil and gas production.
Ameya Paleja
Hywind Tampen offshore floating wind farm
Hywind Tampen offshore floating wind farm

Equinor 

Hywind Tampen, the world's largest floating wind farm, located off the coast of Norway, has become operational, a company press release said. Of the 11 turbines involved in the project, the first turbine began power production on November 13, with another six scheduled to go online this year.

With the impending doom of climate change and the recent upshoot of fuel prices, countries around the world are looking to switch aggressively to renewable energy. While those in the tropics are looking at solar power, others that can access winds over the seas are looking to build offshore wind farms.

Although increasing the size of wind turbines is a straightforward way to increase the energy output of these facilities, it also comes with increased costs for constructing these structures. Floating wind farms are being looked at as a possible solution to this problem, and Hywind Tampen is the first real-world test of this kind.

The Hywind Tampen Project

Located 87 miles (140 km) off the coast of Norway, the Hywind Tampen project consists of 11 wind turbines capable of generating 88MW of energy at its peak. The Norwegian power company, Equinor, undertook the project. Its partners and financial support came from Enova, a state enterprise owned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment, and the NOx fund, provided by the business sector.

The turbines are located in waters 853 - 984 feet (260-300 m) deep and installed on floating structures with a joint mooring system. Four of the 11 turbines used in the project have been assembled but will only be installed at the wind farm next year. Even with the seven turbines, the facility has a capacity of 60 MW, making it the world's largest floating wind farm.

Powering oil and gas generation

World's largest floating wind farm is now powering gas and oil production
The oil and gas field in the background

As Interesting Engineering reported in June this year, the project is being executed to supply energy to the Snorre and Gullfaks offshore oil and gas fields located nearby, to reduce the carbon emissions from the production. Equinor estimates that when fully online, the Hywind Tampen project will help it meet 35 percent of the energy demand of the two fields and cut carbon emissions by about 220,000 U.S. tons (200,000 tonnes) each year.

"This is an important contribution towards transforming the Norwegian continental shelf from an oil and gas province to a broad energy province," said Kjetil Hove, Equinor’s executive vice president for Exploration and Production Norway in the press release. "Just a few years ago, no one would have believed that offshore platforms could be powered by electricity from floating wind turbines. Well, now we have started."

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