The “largest” floating offshore wind farm comes online in the North Sea

A facility that is currently considered the largest floating offshore wind farm in the world has produced its first electricity, providing power for oil and gas exploration operations in the North Sea.

On November 13, Hywind Tampen began feeding Equinor’s drilling at the Gullfaks oil and gas field. The wind farm is located approximately 87 miles off the coast of Norway, in waters at depths ranging from 260 meters to 300 meters.

Norway has been a leader in the development of offshore wind installations in the North Sea.

The turbine which will enter service on Sunday is the first of seven expected to be commissioned by the end of this year. Four more turbines are expected to enter service next year. Equinor said the wind farm, when fully operational, will have a generating capacity of 88 MW.

“I am proud that we have now started production at Hywind Tampen, Norway’s first and largest floating wind farm,” said Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s Executive Vice President for Projects, Drilling and Procurement. , in a press release. “This is a unique project, the world’s first wind farm powering oil and gas production facilities.”

Other companies involved in the Hywind Tampen project include Vår Energi, INPEX Idemitsu, Petoro, Wintershall Dea and OMV.

Fueling the oil and gas sector

The Hywind Tampen facility is one of several offshore wind farms being developed to power offshore oil and gas drilling. General Electric (GE) has announced that it could deploy 1.5 GW of offshore wind to support the decarbonization of oil and gas production in the Gulf of Suez, as part of an alliance with the Egyptian group of fossil energy EGAS.

GE signed the agreement at the ongoing COP27 climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Seasplit, an offshore renewable energy engineering group, will also participate in the deal, with the three groups cooperating on the “technical and economic feasibility” of the project.

Hussein Meharafa, CEO of Seasplit, said in a statement: “Egypt has huge offshore wind resources. Our data analysis shows that the Gulf of Suez can reach up to 10 GW of wind capacity. This ambitious and visionary announcement paves the way for the exploitation of these resources to eventually transform the Gulf of Suez into a net zero industrial zone… [and] should create new localization, supply chain and employment opportunities.

Joseph Anis, CEO of GE Gas Power EMEA, said: “This initiative has the potential to make Egypt a regional hub and exporter of renewable energy and can set new benchmarks in the supply of clean energy for stimulate industrial operations. The partners said excess electricity from offshore wind could be sent to the onshore grid.

Siemens Gamesa Turbines

Equinor said the Hywind Tampen wind farm is expected to supply around 35% of the electricity demand of the Gullfaks and nearby Snorre oil and gas fields. In a statement, the company said the use of wind power “will reduce CO2 emissions.2 field emissions of about 200,000 tons per year.

The 11 Siemens Gamesa 8 MW turbines at Hywind Tampen are installed on a floating concrete structure, with a common mooring system. Floating wind turbines allow installation in deeper waters, compared to fixed-bottom wind turbines. In 2017, Equinor began operating Hywind Scotland, a 30 MW floating wind farm with five turbines, a project believed to be the world’s first floating wind farm.

Several other floating wind farm projects have either entered service in the past five years or are in development. Earlier this year, the Biden administration said it wanted at least 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity installed off the US coast by 2035. The administration’s “Floating Offshore Wind Shot” aims to reduce costs of floating offshore wind technologies by more than 70% over the next decade and beyond.

“Scaling floating offshore wind technology will open up new opportunities for offshore wind power off the coasts of California and Oregon, in the Gulf of Maine and beyond,” the company said. White House in a statement in September announcing the program. US Department of the Interior officials announced in October the first-ever sale of development rights for facilities off the California coast.

Global Development

Kansai Electric Power and Japan’s RWE Renewables announced an agreement last year to assess the feasibility of what they called a “large-scale floating offshore wind project” off the coast of Japan. RWE is developing several projects around the world, including the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, a planned 1.4 GW facility in the Dogger Bank area of ​​the North Sea which the company says “is the largest offshore wind project in the portfolio. of RWE”.

Australia has announced plans for at least three larger offshore wind power developments, with interest from Equinor and others including Shell and Orsted. The state of Victoria is at the forefront of offshore wind in Australia, with a capacity target of 4 GW by 2035 and 9 GW by 2040. The 2.2 GW Star of the South project, Majority-owned by Denmark-based Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and in development for the past decade, is now expected to come online in 2028, state officials say.

Darrell Supervisor is associate editor of POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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