Equinor has reached a final investment decision for the Hywind Tampen floating offshore wind development to supply the Snorre and Gullfaks fields, the renewables project will be the first wind farm to power an oil and gas platforms but will also envisage a new type of floating design which will play an essential part in the energy transition for a more supportable global energy supply. Two updated plans for development nd operation will be submitted to Norwegian authorities.
“We have been systematically maturing technologies for floating offshore wind for almost 20 years. The decision by the Snorre and Gullfaks partners helps bring this technology an important step forward,” Equinor chief executive Eldar Saetre said.
“About 80% of the global resource potential for offshore wind is in deep waters, and floating offshore wind may play an important part in the energy transition towards a more sustainable global energy supply. This brings substantial opportunities for the Norwegian industry,” Saetre added.
Hywind Tampen will consist of 11 wind turbines, 8-megawatt turbines, which will have a total capacity of 88 megawatts, located some 140 kilometres from shore in the 260 – 300 metres of water between the Snorre and Gullfaks platforms.
The Nkr5 billion ($550 million) renewable energy project objective will be to reduce the emissions from the Snorre and Gullfaks fields by 200,000 tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the annual emissions from 100,000 passenger cars by meeting around 35% of the yearly power demand of the platforms.
Scheduled to come online in late 2022, it will operate from the Equinor’s Bergen office. Gulen Industrihamn in western Norway has been chosen for the assembly of the floating wind turbines before being transported to the North Sea.
Although expensive, it will operate on deeper waters, opening up new territories to the offshore wind with more desirable wind conditions. The Hywind II trial has been achieving capacity factors above 65%. Conversely, being farther out, increases cable costs and complicates operations and maintenance.
Floating wind power, over a 30-year period, could create up to 128,000 jobs, according to a study by Menon Economics. Secondary economic impacts of the Hywind Tampen project itself include generating up to 3,000 full-time equivalent jobs at Norwegian businesses and a significant contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), based on the estimated investment and operating expenses.