Powering up at sea
Statoil has resolved to concentrate even more strongly on offshore wind turbines as part of its strategy for renewable energy.
This decision reflects the strong international growth in this segment, combined with the group’s unique offshore experience from the oil and gas industry.
As part of its commitment to marine turbines, the group will make provision for a gradual divestment of its wind power projects on land.
Anne Strømmen Lycke heads the group’s wind power commitment.
“We’ve become involved in major offshore wind power projects in recent years,” explains Anne Strømmen Lycke, who heads the group’s commitment in this area.
“These include the Sheringham Shoal wind farm, currently under construction, and the licensed Dogger Bank project. Both of these are off the UK.
“We’ve also developed a unique prototype for a floating wind turbine. This Hywind concept is being tested off south-western Norway.”
The market for such units has risen by no less than 50% over a year, and Statoil has become involved at an early stage in an expanding market.
“We aim to secure a leading position by using our competitive advantages in technology and our experience of marine operations from almost 40 years in the offshore sector,” says Lycke.
“In addition, we intend to utilize the experience we’ve acquired through our holdings in Norwegian wind power projects to support a strengthened commitment to offshore turbines.”
Statoil is collaborating broadly with suppliers in Norway and abroad on developing important technological solutions for offshore wind turbines.
The goal is to achieve a cost per kilowatt-hour generated which makes it possible to operate wind farms without subsidies in the longer term.
A gearless turbine prototype, for instance, is being tested at Havøygalen in the far northern county of Finnmark.
Statoil aims to apply the leading-edge expertise it has built up through technological development in Norway to its offshore wind power commitment.
“We can point to very good results after a year’s operation,” reports Sjur Bratland, Statoil’s asset manager for the Hywind solution.
“It now looks as if we’ll be able to cut the costs of floating wind turbines by more than 50%. And we can see that the new technology incorporated in Hywind functions as intended.
“We’re currently analysing alternative locations for a demonstration farm embracing several floating turbines as the next stage in the commercialisation of this concept.”
Statoil has a relatively limited wind-power portfolio on land, comprising 18 turbines operating at two locations in Norway. In addition come holdings in another four licensed projects.
The group in also involved in eight wholly or partly owned projects for future wind farms which are the subject of advance notification to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) or a licence application.