Opinion: Floating wind could be profitable in little more than a decade

A report on the future of floating offshore wind in Norway shows it could become profitable sooner than anticipated – hopefully authorities will take the right measures to achieve this.

Speed and being an early adopter is of the essence, argues Arvid Nesse (Image: Norwegian Offshore Wind)
Speed and being an early adopter is of the essence, argues Arvid Nesse (Image: Norwegian Offshore Wind)

There is formidable technological development in floating offshore wind, and Norway is a pioneer in this area.  

With high electricity prices and the energy crisis in Europe, it is all the more important to get started with offshore wind investment in Norway.

Therefore, it is gratifying to see that the latest analysis of profitability and industrial development support that floating offshore wind will be a central part of the future power mix.

The analysis was commissioned by the Norwegian offshore wind industry and shows that the price of power from floating technology may fall below NOK 0.5/kWh (€0.05kWh) as early as around 2035.

There is no one in the industry who has claimed that we in Norway are able to build this up without support in the initial phase. 

Pace is a factor

We are very happy that Norwegian politicians now see that pace is important, so that we can quickly build up the domestic market. We need that to secure the technology required for profitability to increase.

The world’s first floating offshore wind turbine, the 2.3MW Hywind Hywind (2.3MW) Offshoreoff Karmøy, Norway, Europe Click to see full details, was developed and tested in Norway. At our Marine Energy Test Centre (METCentre), new technology and innovative solutions are being tested. Capacity will be expanded, and in total floating eight turbines will be in operation. 

Market share equals profit

A finding in the report is that support in the initial phase will be economically profitable if Norway achieves a substantial market share. This initial support will provide a high socio-economic profitability. In order to achieve a high market share, we have to work purposefully with exports and internationalisation. 

We are already present in important strategic markets, but we have to gear up now while we wait to get started with the projects here at home

The report points to experiences from bottom-fixed offshore wind and shows that countries that were early in the market have retained central positions. 

Seize the day

That is why we are so concerned that Norway must seize the opportunities now in floating offshore wind. This is where we have the best pre-requisites for international success. We have natural advantages, a world-leading test centre for floating offshore wind, solid experience with floating offshore technology and deep water construction sites. 

In the last two weeks, the Norwegian government has laid out plans for both Norwegian exports and a framework for the home market. 

Overall, the industry is happy, but also concerned that there might not be enough projects receiving support initially. 

The industry is now working to coordinate input to the government on criteria, making sure that the investments in Norway will build a broad supply chain industry in floating offshore wind. 

Arvid Nesse is manager of Norwegian Offshore Wind

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