The Norwegian government has set aside 82.7 million crowns ($3,86 million) to support Ocean Gird, a project that looks to develop new technology and solutions to enable a profitable development of offshore wind on the Norwegian continental shelf. It will look particularly at the way offshore wind will be connected to the grid.
The Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Iselin Nybø, announced Friday that the Ocean Grid project will get financial support through the Green Platform scheme, launched as part of the government's third stimulus package in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in May 2020. Through Green Platform, the Norwegian government wants to enable rapid investments in green and sustainable solutions and products.
Equinor, a partner in and the leader of the Ocean Gird project, said the project will touch on both bottom-fixed and floating wind farms, and will in the long term enable the creation of green jobs and increased export revenues.
The project partners will also bring their own financial contributions to the table, raising the total to 125.5 million NOK for the development of the offshore grid. Both the supply industry and energy companies will engage actively in the project, together with the research institutions. The project will span over three years.
Energy companies and developers in the project are Equinor, Agder Energi, Aker Offshore Wind, Deep Wind Offshore, Hafslund Eco, Fred. Olsen Renewables. Suppliers and manufacturers are Aibel, Nexans, AkerSolutions, DNV, Benestad, ABB, Hitachi ABB, and research and innovation entities are SINTEF, NTNU, UiO.
“Our objective is to realize offshore wind on a large scale. We have to build wind farms in a cost-effective way, and we of course need to get the power all the way to the customers. It's crucial to our success that the energy companies, research institutions and suppliers collaborate towards this goal,” says Florian Schuchert, vice president of offshore wind solutions at Equinor (who leads the project).
The Ocean Grid project will also address the issue of market design and the regulatory framework linked to the development and operation of an offshore grid to connect large offshore wind farms. It will develop Norwegian technology and a supply industry to provide new cable designs, subsea technology and floating converter stations. Ocean Grid also has a research component, led by SINTEF, that will solve specific research challenges.
“This project will develop technology and solutions that are essential to succeed with offshore wind. It will lay the foundation for a profitable offshore wind development in Norway, and technology that can provide increased exports and new green jobs,” says chief scientist at SINTEF, John Olav Tande.
Europe has a plan of installing 300 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050.
Equinor said that the Norwegian industry is world leading when it comes to sea and subsea technology, developed over five decades of oil and gas extraction, and that Norway is therefore in a unique position to build upon this expertise and take a significant portion of this new market.
“This project is important and on point to develop the right solutions and new technologies that will enable profitable offshore wind in Norway. This will lay the groundwork for new concepts, new jobs and a new supplier industry that can compete internationally,” says the responsible for offshore wind at Fred. Olsen Renewables, Lars Bender, who will also act as chairman of the project's board.