The image is somewhat startling: wind turbines to power oil rigs. However, these 11 floating turbines, each with a capacity of 8.6 megawatts, will generate 35% of the electricity required by five nearby oil rigs, which currently operate on gas and diesel.
These floating turbines are anchored rather than fixed to the seabed and are located close to the platforms, paving the way for deepwater wind power far from shore and the concerns of local residents, where wind is more constant.
This pilot wind farm project will reduce Norway’s annual CO2 emissions by 200,000 tons and nitrous oxide emissions by 1,000 tons, representing 0.4% of the country’s emissions. However, Norway maintains that this is only the beginning. Despite being the main gas supplier in Europe after the war in Ukraine, the country is determined to halve its carbon emissions by 2030. To achieve this, the fossil fuel industry must be electrified.
This floating wind farm, which serves as a test bed for future developments, will cost around 642 million euros, with 40% state financing. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre acknowledged that it is expensive but stressed the need to lead in this field. Norway plans to build 1,500 offshore wind turbines by 2040, and the first commercial tenders, including three floating wind farm projects, are due to launch this fall. Despite this ambitious plan, Norway is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, as state oil company Equinor remains a crucial source of revenue for the country.