Norway proposes plans for sea-based wind power

Offshore wind energy may become the next adventure for the Norwegian industry and energy sector. Through the proposed act and the strategy for offshore renewable energy the Government establishes a framework and future possibilities for a new green industry, says the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Riis-Johansen.

The proposed act is based on public administration and control of the management of the energy resources offshore. The strategy states that a process of identifying sea areas suitable for future development of offshore wind power now will be initiated. Aspects related to infrastructure for offshore energy production are also addressed.

The proposal implies that renewable energy production may be established offshore after the Government has opened up appointed areas for applications. To ensure holistic planning and early consideration of all relevant interests, appointment and opening of areas will only happen after thorough impact assessments. The proposed act also includes regulations on the process of applying for concessions, establishment, operation and close-down of offshore renewable energy production and offshore grid.

Regulations on compensation to fishermen, similar to the regulations in the petroleum sector, are also proposed. The proposed act is also covering concerns related to security and working environment, area fees, system operation and export and import of electrical energy.

A future large-scale development of offshore renewable energy production presents us with a number of challenges. The proposed act is an important part of the long-term efforts of the Norwegian Government in the field of offshore wind power. The proposal creates a framework for ensuring that energy infrastructure is planned, constructed and operated with due concern for energy supply, environment, security, fisheries, sea transport and other interests, says Mr. Riis-Johansen.

The strategy discusses challenges related to future development of offshore renewable energy, and how the Ministry will follow up these. In the field of technology and research, a support programme on demonstration of marine renewable energy was established earlier this year. In addition three research centres of environmentally friendly energy, relevant to offshore energy production, are in the process of being established.

The proposal we are now presenting to Stortinget (the Parliament) is pointing out the direction for the long-term efforts needed to make offshore wind power a new Norwegian technology and energy industry. We will do a thorough piece of work on this. In 2012 we will present a revised and further developed strategy to Stortinget, says the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Riis-Johansen.

Wind resources in Norway

Norway has excellent wind resources. On the exposed strip of the Norwegian coastline, annual mean wind speed 50 m above ground can be as high as 7-9 m/s. At sites of local acceleration (hills, crests etc) wind speeds above 9 m/s are common. Common capacity factors are around 34 per cent, generating 3000 MWh/year with the same installed capacity. At optimal sites in onshore Norway as well as offshore sites, a capacity factor of 46 per cent MWh/year is possible.

In continental Europe, capacity factors of about 23 per cent are common, thus 1 MW of wind power will generate 2000 MWh/year of electric power.

Development status

At the end of 2008, a total of 428 MW wind power was installed in Norway. Norway has an excellent wind power potential. Typical sites at the coast have annual mean winds in the range of 8 to 10 m/s. This is considerable better than the typical wind conditions in Denmark or northern Germany. Wind farms located at the long Norwegian coastline are expected to operate very efficient.

The location of the farms in less dense populated areas in Norway has both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, the operation of the parks is not disturbing for people. On the other hand, some impact on the fragile arctic nature cannot be excluded and has to be estimated carefully. Often, a visual impact is present, but this is a very individual impression.

Norway has further an interesting potential for Offshore wind energy. Wind turbines might be located in shallow waters with very different soil conditions or floating in deep-water environment. Especially the latter is a challenging R&D field.

The long-term potential for wind energy in Norway is very high; some tens of TWh might be installed. At present, wind power gives by far the cheapest electricity of the new, renewable energy sources.

The total theoretical potential for offshore wind power in Norway corresponds to approximately 200 times the total Norwegian hydro power production. The theoretical sales value of this energy source corresponds to NOK 6000 billion per year "forever" (i.e. approximately 10 times the value of the Norwegian oil & gas production). The red area represents as little as 0.5 % of the area of Norway’s economic zone corresponds to all of the current Norwegian power consumption.

DONG Energy targets more wind farms in Norway

Denmark’s DONG Energy will build and run an up to 33-megawatt wind farm in the northern Norway municipality of Narvik in cooperation with its local affiliate Nordkraft, DONG said on Friday.

"The farm will have a capacity of between 25.3 and 33 MW," state-owned DONG Energy said in a statement.

Investment in the Nygaardsfjell 2 wind park is expected to be around 300 million Danish crown ($57.85 million), it said.

The wind farm will be owned by Nordkraft Vind AS, a 50/50 venture with Nordkraft, DONG said.

Since 2002 DONG has owned a third of Norwegian hydropower producer Nordkraft, so its stake in the Nygaardsfjell 2 project is 67 percent, DONG said.

"The Nygaardsfjell 2 wind farm represents yet another important step toward our ambition to triple our production of renewable energy by 2020," DONG said.

Nordkraft’s target is to produce 300 gigawatt hours of wind power over the next 10 years, its chief executive, Olaf Larsen said in the statement.

A DONG Energy spokesman said that the company had not yet chosen a wind turbine supplier for the project.