Norwegian energy company Equinor, better known for projects in the oil and gas industry, started commissioning what it says is the world’s largest floating wind farm over the weekend, with more turbines due to come on stream later this year and early next year.
The first turbine of the Hywind Tampen project went online on Sunday. Although we are talking about renewable energy sources, all electricity generated is used solely to extract oil and gas from the North Sea sites.
Hywind Tampen is located 140 km off the coast of Norway, seven turbines are scheduled to be operational by the end of 2022, with four more to be installed next year. After the full implementation of the project, its capacity will be 88 MW.
In addition to Equinor, Vår Energi, INPEX Idemitsu, Petoro, Wintershall Dea and OMV are involved in the project. Hywind Tampen is reported to provide up to 35% of the power for the Gullfaks and Snorre oil and gas developments. Using renewable energy will reduce the carbon footprint of fossil fuel extraction. However, such a project still draws criticism from eco-activists, since hydrocarbons are ultimately the main contributors to environmental pollution.
According to Equinor, the Hywind Tampen turbines were installed on floating concrete bases. One of the advantages of such projects is the ability to install wind turbines in deeper water than ground-mounted turbines.
Back in 2017, Equinor launched Hywind Scotland, a 30MW five-turbine power plant that Equinor describes as the world’s first floating wind farm.
Since then, the number of such solutions has increased significantly. Projects from Scotland to the USA to China are in various stages of implementation. It is known that only the United States wants to bring the total amount of energy from floating wind farms to 15 GW by 2035. At the same time, the country plans to reduce the cost of such power plants by more than 70%.
Last month, China announced a record-breaking offshore project to install generators on the seabed. Its capacity is expected to be higher than that of the entire electricity system in Norway.