Oslo — Norwegian oil company Equinor and Italian rival Eni plan to collaborate on development of floating wind farms in the North Sea as part of their expansion within renewable energy production, the companies said on Thursday.
The Norwegian government has earmarked two areas in the North Sea for up to 4.5 gigawatts of floating and bottom-fixed wind turbine capacity and plans to present further details to parliament no later than next month.
Equinor said it had teamed up with Vaargroenn, 69.6% owned by Eni and 30.4% by Norway’s HitecVision, to apply for offshore wind acreage at Utsira Nord, one of the two areas promoted by the government.
“The North Sea has some of the world’s best wind resources,” said Paal Eitrheim, Equinor’s head of new energy solutions.
“A floating offshore wind farm at Utsira Nord could be the next project at scale to drive industrialisation of floating offshore wind and create new opportunities for Norwegian industry.”
Floating wind farms are more expensive to develop than turbines that are fixed to the seabed but can be located in deeper waters. Equinor already operates one such facility off the coast of Scotland and is building a further pilot project in Norway.
However, developing floating offshore wind power in Norway remains unprofitable without subsidies, analysts have said.
The Vaargroenn joint venture has also previously announced that it was working with southern Norwegian utility Agder Energi to seek offshore wind acreage in Norway.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Nora Buli Editing by David Goodman )