Floating Offshore Wind Farm Powers Oil and Gas Fields in Norway
The world’s largest deep-water floating offshore wind project started delivering power to oil and gas fields in the North Sea.
The world’s largest floating offshore wind project is powering two oil and gas fields in Norway’s section of the North Sea. With 11 turbines and a capacity of 88 megawatts (MW), Hywind Tampen is the country’s first offshore wind farm and the only one in the world serving power to oil/gas platforms.
The 88-megawatt Hywind Tampen offshore wind farm started operating in August 2023. Image used courtesy of Equinor/by Ole Jørgen Bratland
The offshore wind farm is about 87 miles from shore in waters ranging from 853 to 984 feet deep. It’s owned and operated by Equinor, a Norwegian state-owned energy firm that also owns the Gullfaks and Snorre oil and gas fields, which started operations in 1986 and 1992, respectively. Hywind Tampen will cover about 35% of the two fields’ annual electricity demand, though higher wind speeds will periodically bring that share even higher.
Equinor expects the wind farm will reduce the fields’ annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 200,000 tonnes and cut another 1,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
Hywind Tampen is Norway’s first offshore wind farm, though the country has several testing facilities for floating wind technologies. The Norwegian government, which aims to commission 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind before 2040, launched its first tenders earlier this year.
A map of the Hywind Tampen offshore wind farm’s position in the North Sea relative to the Snorre and Gullfaks sites. Image used courtesy of Equinor
Hywind Tampen’s Debut
Hywind Tampen started power production in November 2022 and reached full-scale operations in August 2023. Its turbines are connected in a 1.5-mile-long, 66-kilovolt inter-array cable network and mounted on floating concrete spar structures linked to an anchoring system.
Several suppliers contributed technology to the project: Spanish-German wind engineering firm Siemens Gamesa supplied the wind turbines. Netherlands-based Mammoet led turbine assembly and port handling work, U.K.-based JDR completed the array cable load-outs, and Wood Group modified the Gullfaks and Snorre platforms. A handful of Norwegian companies were also involved: Aker Solutions built the floating concrete foundations, DOF Subsea installed the suction anchors, Seaway 7 installed the inner array and two export cables, and local contractor Wergeland assembled the turbines.
Video used courtesy of Equinor
U.S.-headquartered financial technology provider Enova and the Norwegian Business Sector’s NOx Fund provided 2.3 billion NOK ($214.7 million) and 566 million NOK ($52.8 million), respectively, to support the project.
Equinor estimates the total project cost will be 7.4 billion NOK ($690.9 million), a considerable jump from the initial 5 billion NOK ($466.8 million) committed in 2019. The company cited COVID-related costs, delivery delays, quality issues, increased prices, currency impacts, and supplier compensation as contributors to the higher estimate. Still, the project’s expected CO2 tax and gas price have also increased, positively impacting its financial position.
Equinor’s Offshore Wind Portfolio
Hywind Tampen follows Equinor’s world-first commercial floating wind development, Hywind Scotland. The 30-MW installation was commissioned in 2017 with five turbines and a spar-type substructure in waters as deep as 311-393 feet. According to Equinor, the three-line mooring system was built for harsh conditions, with the site seeing an average wave height of about 6 feet. It currently serves power to around 35,000 homes in the U.K.
The launch of Hywind Tampen brings Equinor’s share of global offshore floating wind capacity to around 47%. The company’s offshore wind portfolio powers over 1 million homes in the U.K. and Germany, and it’s targeting an installed net capacity of 12 to 16 GW by 2030.
Elsewhere in Norway, Equinor is looking to build another floating wind project, Utsira Nord, and a large-scale offshore wind farm, Sørlige Nordsjø II.
The Hywind Tampen offshore wind farm (shown in the background) powers oil and gas platforms in the North Sea. Image used courtesy of Equinor/by Ole Jørgen Bratland
Hywind Tampen will be a test site for new and advanced floating wind technologies, including bigger turbines, various installation methods, simplified moorings, and integrated gas and wind power generation systems.