Equinor and Vårgrønn have agreed to collaborate on a joint application to develop floating offshore wind in the 1500MW Utsira Nord area of the Norwegian North Sea.
Utsira Nord is one of two areas the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy opened for offshore renewables — the other being 1500MW Sørlige Nordsjø II phase 1 . The authorities are currently in the process of licensing Norwegian offshore wind projects.
“The North Sea has some of the world’s best wind resources. A floating offshore wind farm at Utsira Nord could be the next project at scale to drive industrialisation of floating offshore wind and create new opportunities for the Norwegian industry,” said Equinor’s vice president for new energy solutions, Pål Eitrheim.
Equinor is currently developing the 88MW Hywind Tampen floating offshore wind project in the Norwegian North Sea.
Norwegian renewable energy company Vårgrønn is a joint venture between oil and gas investor HitecVision and energy major Eni. HitecVision and Eni have a longstanding collaboration through Vår Energi, Norway’s largest independent oil and gas company.
“We are excited to enter into a partnership with Equinor on floating offshore wind, contributing to the continued development of Norway as a leading energy nation. This project will be an essential part of our ambition to own and operate 1GW installed capacity by 2030,” said Olav Hetland, CEO of Vårgrønn.
Equinor and Eni are also partners in the under-construction Dogger Bank project.
Equinor is the world’s leading floating offshore wind developer. It claims to have achieved a 70% capex cost reduction per megawatt from the 2.3MW Hywind demo in 2009 to the 30MW Hywind Scotland project in 2017. Hywind Tampen, which is due online in 2022, aims to reduce costs by a further 40%.
Content from Norwegian suppliers amounted to 30% on Hywind Scotland and 50% on Hywind Tampen.