Over the weekend, the biggest floating wind farm in the world went into operation, providing electricity for North Sea oil and gas facilities.
The project is called Hywind Tampen, and Equinor, a Norwegian energy corporation, manages it. In the future, more wind turbines will start operating, according to Equinor. The Gullfaks oil and gas field acquired the company’s first electricity generation. However, Equinor uses this capability to fuel North Sea oil and gas drilling activities. This happens despite the project being a renewable resource.
“I am proud that we have now started production at Hywind Tampen, Norway’s first and the world’s largest floating wind farm. This is a unique project, the first wind farm in the world powering producing oil and gas installations,” said Gier Tungesvik, the executive vice president of Equinor for projects, drilling, and procurement.
Hywind Tampen floats 140 kilometers away from the Norwegian shore. Equinor intends to power seven of the wind farm’s turbines this year, with four more sets to go into operation in 2023. When finished, the wind farm will produce more electricity than 88 megawatts, according to the business. Many firms manage the wind farm. The companies include Var Energi, Petoro, Wintershall Dea, INPEX Idemitsy, and OMV. In the short term, the farm will meet 35% of the energy needs in the Gullfaks and Snorre gas and oil fields.
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The wind farm will spark controversy
According to experts, environmental groups will raise objections if a wind farm powers a fossil fuel field. The United Nations’ desire to strictly regulate fossil fuel development has already been announced over and over again. The group said that excessive human activity, particularly the burning of gas, oil, and coal, contributes to the climate problem.
“We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during the COP27.
“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator. (The war Ukraine and other conflicts) caused so much bloodshed and violence and had dramatic impacts all over the world. But we cannot accept that our attention is not focused on climate change,” he added.
“To avoid that dire fate, all G-20 countries must accelerate their transition now. Developed countries must take the lead, but emerging economies are critical to bending the global emissions curve. End dependence on fossil fuels and building new coal plants — phasing out coal in OECD countries by 2030 and everywhere else by 2040.”
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Expanding the industry
Wind farm installation started to gather momentum a few years ago. Beginning in 2017, Hywind Tampen started to operate. With five turbines capable of producing about 30 MW, Equinor launched the project. As a result, several businesses joined in after learning about the concept. RWE Renewables and Kansai Electric Power started looking into putting floating wind farms on the Japanese shore.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is launching coordinated actions to develop new floating offshore wind platforms, an emerging clean energy technology. It will help the United States lead on offshore wind,” said the White House in a statement a couple of years ago.
“Bringing floating offshore wind technology to scale will unlock new opportunities for offshore wind power off the coasts of California and Oregon, in the Gulf of Maine, and beyond,” it added.
Photo Credit: Karoline Rivero Bernacki
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