Equinor and Vårgrønn have signed a collaboration agreement to jointly apply for offshore wind acreage in Norway for the Utsira Nord area.
Through a collaboration agreement Equinor and Vårgrønn, a Norwegian renewable energy company established by HitecVision and Eni, aim to jointly prepare and submit an application to the Norwegian authorities to develop floating offshore wind at Utsira Nord west off Utsira and Haugalandet in the Norwegian North Sea.
The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has opened two areas for offshore renewables (Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II), and the authorities are currently working on the licensing process for Norwegian offshore wind power 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 Norwegian industry. Together with Vårgrønn, we are eager to contribute to a new chapter in Norway’s energy legacy and position floating offshore wind as a new industry contributing to the energy transition. As the leading floating offshore wind developer Equinor has the experience and capabilities necessary to develop the next full-scale floating offshore wind farm in Norway after Hywind Tampen”, said Equinor's Executive Vice President for New Energy Solutions, Pål Eitrheim.
“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 1 gigawatt (GW) installed capacity by 2030. Developing a home market for offshore wind power, particularly floating, will be important for developing the Norwegian offshore wind supply industry, and positioning new technologies for a growing global market. Vårgrønn and its owners have the competence and a strong commitment to help further develop a new industry within the renewable energy sector on the Norwegian Continental Shelf”, said Olav Hetland, CEO at Vårgrønn.
Vårgrønn is a joint venture between energy company Eni and the Norwegian energy entrepreneur and investor HitecVision. Equinor and Eni are partners in Dogger Bank, currently under construction in the North Sea. Once completed, it will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm.
HitecVision and Eni have a longstanding collaboration through Vår Energi – the largest, independent oil and gas company in Norway, and a partner in the Hywind Tampen project. Since the 1980s, HitecVision has operated as an entrepreneur and investor in the energy industry, having invested in, acquired or built more than 200 companies.
Both HitecVision and Eni have recently positioned renewables at the centre of their strategies.
Equinor has experience in the floating offshore wind sector having developed and commissioned the Hywind demo in 2009 and Hywind Scotland in 2017. The company claims to have taken capex per megawatt by 70%.
When Hywind Tampen starts up next year the ambition is to reduce the costs further by more than 40%. The development of the 88 MW array is designed to reduce emissions from oil and gas production at the Snorre and Gullfaks fields. It is to consist of 11 wind turbines, with a total capacity of 88 MW, installed approximately 140 km from shore, at water depths of 260 to 300 metres.
Operated from Equinor’s offices in Bergen, Hywind Tampen is scheduled to enter operations at the end of 2022. It is expected to meet around 35% of the annual demand for electricity of the five platforms: Snorre A and B and Gullfaks A, B and C. In periods of strong winds, the percentage could be higher.