NorthWind was represented at Arendalsuka, a large political gathering in Norway that aims at strengthening political empowerment and democracy through open debate and involvement. Centre director John Olav Tande participated in two events (in Norwegian). Scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to the video from the debates.
Will Norway pivot from oil to offshore wind?
A leader in the oil and gas sector for decades, Norway now stands at the cusp of a significant transition to offshore wind power. As the country embarks on large-scale offshore wind development, there are calls to invest intensively in knowledge, research, and technology – akin to the commitment Norway showed to its oil and gas industry.
Underlining the importance of this shift is the Ostend Declaration. North Sea countries, including Norway, have outlined an ambitious target: achieving 300 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050. While this directive paves the way for robust international collaboration, it also highlights the urgent need for heightened research efforts. In this evolving landscape, Norway is poised to assume a leadership role, potentially anchoring a European Centre of Excellence for offshore wind.
NorthWind, SINTEF and the Federation of Norwegian Industries organised a political debate centering on the question: Is it time to unite energy companies, universities, research institutions, the supply industry, and governing bodies in a collective drive to advance the offshore wind technology frontier in Norway?
The discussion brought together stakeholders from different facets of the energy sector.
Emissions cuts on the Norwegian continental shelf
According to statistics released by the Norwegian Statistical Bureau (SSB), oil and gas extraction in the country accounts for over a quarter of all Norwegian emissions. The data underscores that Norway cannot meet its climate goals without reducing emissions from its continental shelf.
Oil platforms, pivotal in the extraction process, require electricity, primarily derived from gas turbines that utilise gas from oil and gas production. The proposal on the table is to electrify parts of the continental shelf. This transition would replace the present “mini-gas power plants” with power sourced from the mainland. Notably, this transition has already been initiated on a few platforms. The shift is seen as essential, given that onshore electricity production in Norway is considerably cleaner than that on the platforms.
Equinor, a significant player in the Norwegian energy market, has put forth some figures concerning the prospective electrification. Their estimations suggest that the electrification plan would require an input of 10-12 terawatt-hours (TWh). To put that in context, this accounts for just under 10% of Norway’s total power consumption in a typical year.
Meanwhile, Equinor and its partners have shelved their Trollvind project, which aimed at electrifying the Troll and Oseberg oil fields with an large floating offshore wind farm, and was seen as a solution to electrification not causing a shortage of power on land.
To foster a constructive discourse on the matter, SINTEF, in collaboration with research centers LowEmission, NorthWind, HYDROGENi, and NCCS, invited inviting industry experts and politicians to a debate.
During the debate Benedicte Solaas, Director, climate and the environment, Offshore Norge, underscored that Trollvind was not cancelled but only “delayed”.