Norwegian firms urged to invest in domestic offshore wind power

Crisis-driven Norwegian oil suppliers that turn towards rapidly growing offshore wind power market abroad are urged to invest in domestic market, newspaper Aftenposten reported Wednesday.

While the companies use the golden opportunity to build offshore wind power parks abroad, there is a lack of interest for the industry development in the home country, the report said.

“There is a huge market out there. Norway needs to do something fast if we are going to be able to hang on,” said Oyvind Isachsen from the Norwegian Wind Energy Association (NORWEA).

According to the newspaper, prices of offshore wind power plants have fallen sharply in recent years, and experts for the industry believe power from major offshore wind farms will be competitive with other power sources in the next seven years.

Norwegian multinational oil and gas company Statoil has started with major development projects in Britain and Germany, the report said.

The company expects that renewable — especially offshore winds — will make 15 to 20 percent of the company’s total investments by 2030.

In Norway, however, there are few concrete development plans, despite the fact that the country has one of the best wind conditions in Europe, Aftenposten wrote.

“The interest in wind power in Norway follows the oil price. There was a lot of talk about offshore wind when the oil price was on the bottom, but as soon as it goes up to 50 to 60 dollars, we can not hold the interest,” Isachsen said.

According to MAKE Consulting, a renewable energy expert company, Norwegian companies have taken less than five percent of deliveries to the growing offshore wind market since 2010.

“It is up to industry to hang on. The Danes started early with the production of turbines and the Dutch with the foundation design. But the capacity of the industry needs to be increased, so there is room for new suppliers,” said Rune Ronvik, head of Statoil’s Wind Operations UK.

“For Norwegian companies that may not have been the first to explore possibilities within bottom-fixed offshore wind, there are several opportunities in an early phase for floating offshore winds,” said Jon Dugstad, director of wind and solar power in Norwegian Energy Partners.

Stale Kyllingstad, managing director of Norwegian oil service company IKM, said that the market for offshore wind power is still not taken into consideration.

“It’s a good idea to do such services at home before you go out internationally. It would have been good for the industry with a large wind farm in Norway. I think everyone who is worried about the energy and increasing CO2 emissions will mean that. Norway as a nation must be allowed to work with all forms of energy,” Kyllingstad said.