Beach with wind farm in the distance

Norway opens world’s largest floating wind farm to cut oil industry emissions

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The park’s 11 turbines are expected to produce up to 8.6 megawatts each – enough to cover around 35 per cent of the energy needs of five neighbouring oil and gas platforms.

Located in the North Sea, Hywind Tampen is considered the world’s largest floating wind farm project. 

The project has been funded by Norwegian energy firm Equinor and other oil companies including OMV and Vår Energi, owned by ENI. Their goal is to use the green energy generated by the wind farm to supply the company’s nearby oil and gas platforms and cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

The Hywind Tampen wind farm has a capacity of 88 megawatts. It is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes annually, or 0.4 per cent of Norway’s total CO2 emissions in 2022.

The farm’s 11 wind turbines are fixed to a floating base anchored to the sea floor, rather than the ocean bed, allowing them to be installed in deeper waters and further from the coast where winds are more consistent and stronger.

The field began production at the end of last year but was officially inaugurated on Wednesday August 24 2023 by Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

“We and Europeans all need more electricity. The war in Ukraine has reinforced this situation,” Store said, quoted by Norwegian agency NTB. “This electricity must be from renewable sources if Europe wants to reach its climate goals.”

The cost of the facility has been revealed to have reached 7.4 billion crowns (£548m), of which 2.9 billion crowns (£215m) were provided by the government. 

Although the feat has been celebrated, the use of the platform to balance the emissions produced by the oil and gas industry has raised concerns from environmentalist groups. 

Greenpeace campaigners have stressed that only 0.3 per cent of the 12 European companies’ combined 2022 energy production came from renewable sources. Looking at Equinor, the organisation stated the company invests just 3 per cent of its budget in “real low carbon”.

“Instead of providing desperately-needed clean energy, they feed us greenwashing garbage. Big Oil’s unwillingness to implement real change is a crime against the climate and future generations,” said Greenpeace CEE campaigner Kuba Gogolewski.

Equinor is responsible for about 70 per cent of Norway’s oil and gas production. 

The company has stated its commitment to the goal of being a “net zero company” by 2050. However, it also maintains that, even by this deadline, “there will still be a need for oil and gas in the 2050 energy mix.” It plans to use carbon offsets to neutralise its remaining emissions.

Norway has set a target of generating 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2040, doubling its current output.

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