The floating wind farm Hywind Tampen in Norway has provided electricity for the first time. In full operation, the park will have a capacity of 88 MW.
The first turbine in Hywind Tampen provided electricity for the first time on November 13, according to the energy company Equinor. The electricity was sent to the oil and gas platform Gullfaks A in the North Sea.
When the wind farm is completed, it is estimated to be the largest in the world with 88 MW. It will provide enough electricity to cover approximately 35 percent of the electricity needs of the Gullfaks and Snorre oil and gas fields. In this way, the carbon dioxide emissions from the oil and gas extraction at the fields should be reduced by around 200,000 tons per year, estimates Equinor, which is building the wind farm together with partners.
Hywind Tampen is Norway’s first floating wind farm and is being built between the two oil fields, approximately 140 kilometers off the Norwegian west coast, just north of Bergen. The sea depth at the site is between 260 and 300 metres.
Seven of the eleven wind turbines are planned to be commissioned this year. The remaining four are to be installed next year.
The turbines are installed on a floating concrete structure anchored to the seabed. Equinor has already used the concept in Hywind Scotland, the first floating wind farm in the world, with a capacity of 30 MW. The construction is called a spar buoy and looks something like a large stick standing upright in the water.
Has been called greenwashing
The big advantage of floating wind power is that the parks can be installed at greater sea depths than bottom-fixed power plants. This allows the parks to be built further out to sea where the winds are stronger.
The Norwegian government aims to build out 30 GW of offshore wind power before 2040. But energy expert Finn Gunnar Nielsen believes that the country has great potential to build even more.
– If the government wants, Norway can deliver as much energy from offshore wind as our gas exports provide today, says Finn Gunnar Nielsen to Teknisk Ukeblad.
Finn Gunnar Nielsen was part of the team that developed the world’s first floating sea turbine, the so-called Hywind Demo. It was placed off Karmøy in southwest Norway, and the concept was then used in Hywind Scotland.
Electrification of oil and gas extraction has been called greenwashing by critics, such as Friends of the Earth Norway, who believe that the oil and gas industry should be phased out. But the Norwegian Parliament decided in 2020 to tighten the requirements for emission reductions from the Norwegian continental shelf.