A 200MW near-shore project in Norwegian waters is going ahead, despite the absence of a financial incentive for offshore wind. Havgul Clean Energy's Siragrunnen project is "on track," project director, Harald Dirdal, told Windpower Offshore.
A pre-qualification process for potential foundations suppliers begins today. "We intend to use next generation, gravity-based foundations," explained Dirdal. "We want to see the industry's response and hope to close the contract by the end of the year".
Siragrunnen could become Norway's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. Planned for waters off Sanden, south-west Norway, it is in the final stages of permitting by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). Permitting should be completed by the end of the year
"It will be appealed. Every wind project in Norway goes to appeal, but I believe it will go through," said Dirdal. The aim is to progress the project, in tandem with the expected appeal process. A final regulatory decision is expected in 2014.
Despite good offshore wind resource, Norway has no commercial-scale offshore wind. The country's electricity needs are almost entirely met by low-cost hydro power, with its gas exported. The government has not introduced financial incentives for offshore wind.
Dirdal is confident Siragrunnen will be cost-competitive. "We have found a way to proceed without requiring any public support," he said. "This can be a very profitable project; we don't need any support schemes and can compete with gas-fired plant."
Siragrunnen's close proximity to shore – just 1km – offers cost-savings against projects sited further afield and the area's coastal geography is advantageous. "There are four or five ports very close to the project site," said Dirdal.
Up to 40 turbines would be deployed, each of 5-6MW capacity. They would be installed at the 40km² site, in waters 10-40m deep.
Financial close for the NKR6bn (€780m) project is tentatively scheduled for the second half of 2015. Construction would commence shortly afterwards, with completion by end-2017. The project could be up and running by 2018.