Norway’s energy major Equinor is today launching the world’s largest floating wind power installation, with 88 MW of capacity.
The Hywind Tampen installation, offshore Norway, will supply electricity to oil and gas platforms in the area, Reuters notes in a report on the news.
According to Equinor, the wind park will reduce the emissions of these platforms by some 200,000 tons annually.
Offshore wind has recently run into a series of troubles that have raised questions about the industry’s long-term viability.
Already quite expensive, in the past few months, offshore wind installations have seen soaring costs for many materials and components, which have already caused the cancelation of one major project: Vattenfall’s Norfolk Boreas in the UK.
“It’s important to invest only when our return requirements are met,” Anna Borg, Vattenfall’s chief executive said, as quoted by the Financial Times earlier this month. “With Norfolk Boreas [the offshore wind farm], that’s not the case any more.”
The cost of inflation is one part of the problem. The other part, as expressed by the chief executive of Denmark’s Ørsted, is low prices locked in under government tenders for the electricity to be produced by these wind farms.
“If a project which is by far the biggest in the world, with all these opportunities, can only become investable after having worked intensively for a year with everything, it’s hopefully also a stark reminder to the British government that something must change,” Mads Nipper told the FT in June.
An official from the Global Wind Energy Council put it even more bluntly.
“Governments need to ensure that their procurement frameworks allow a return on investment and adequately take into account external factors such as inflation if they want their markets to remain competitive,” Rebecca Williams told the FT.
Norway has plans to boost its offshore wind power capacity to 30 GW by 2040. It has scheduled an auction for the first three commercial floating installations for this autumn.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com