Equinor interested in developing offshore wind in Barents Sea

”If there is an opening for more offshore wind up north, it’s something Equinor will consider,” says senior vice president for project development.
Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Equinor
Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Equinor

Equinor would most certainly consider taking on a lead role in developing offshore wind sites in northern Norway if the Norwegian government were to designate any areas for such undertakings.

So says senior vice president for project development at Equinor Trond Bokn during an information meeting regarding Equinor’s Melkøya facilities.

”If there is an opening for more offshore wind up north, it’s something Equinor will assess. Equinor wants to contribute to the overall power balance in the region and in the nation,” says Bokn.

The statements comes in the wake of Equinor’s submission of a plan for development and operation concerning the Snøhvit Future project, which involves electrification of Hammerfest LNG at Melkøya. The project has received criticism due to the lack of grid capacity in the region, which meant that several other players interested in connecting to the grid were turned down by Statnett.

For instance, a halibut breeding farm of 5MW in Porsanger received a rejection, while a 30MW data center in Troms was turned down as well. Statnett has earmarked 410MW for the Snøhvit Future project at Melkøya.

”We understand that other industries need power and there is a debate on prioritizing projects. If our plans are approved, Statnett’s power cable from Skaidi to Hammerfest will contribute to an important bolstering of the electric grid in the region. More capacity will benefit the entire region, and the Snøhvit partners will make considerable economic contributions to arrange for this construction,” says Bokn.

The local council of northern Norwegian council Nordland has requested permission to develop offshore wind at Helgeland Ytre since 2012, but the government has yet to announce any plans. Nor are there any plans for the Barents Sea.

”Equinor has grand ambitions for offshore wind on the Norwegian continental shelf, both for floating and bottom-fixed [installations]. If the government opens up areas for offshore wind in the Barents Sea, we will evaluate such with as much fervor and passion as we do now in our preparations of Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord,” says Equinor’s media spokesperson on renewables, marketing and midstream, Magnus Frantzen Eidsvold, to EnergyWatch:

”[The Department of Petroleum and Energy] has tasked NVE [the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate] with finding new areas for wind at sea. We find that areas with the biggest need for power should be prioritized. We’re submitting input to the authorities in processes that are relevant and assess the potential when the fundamentals from the authorities are in place.”

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