Offshore wind power presents a sea of new possibilities
Offshore wind power will be an important component in future offshore energy systems.
According to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), offshore wind power can meet the world’s electricity needs eighteen times over.
Norway is already a leading player within offshore wind power. The export market for Norwegian offshore wind technology is currently worth NOK 5 billion, and this has the potential to increase significantly, depending on how much Norway invests in offshore wind power.
We need to urgently reduce our CO2 emissions
There are plenty of opportunities for using offshore wind power from the North Sea to generate electricity. By expanding the power capacity of Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjøen, the areas that are currently open for offshore wind development, to 5 GW, these two areas alone would be able to produce the power needed for the electrification (i.e., 22 TWh) of transport, industry, and oil and gas.
As a planet, we need to urgently reduce all our CO2 emissions. Developing offshore wind power could both reduce emissions from the Norwegian shelf relatively quickly and meet future energy needs in Norway.
A future North Sea grid could facilitate the transmission of energy produced by offshore wind farms through both electrical cables and gas pipes. It could also allow for hydrogen to be manufactured from offshore wind energy by using electrolysis. This technology is already being investigated as part of various projects, such as the Norwegian company TechnipFMC’s DeepPurple project.
Hydrogen can also be manufactured through natural gas reformation and CO2 storage. The latter method presents an opportunity to continue extracting natural gas on the Norwegian shelf without compromising our climate goals. In this context, electrification of the Norwegian shelf is part of a long-term climate solution.
Innovations from offshore wind power
SINTEF is heading a new Norwegian Research Centre on Wind Energy, NorthWind, which will conduct research on sustainable onshore and offshore wind power. The centre will also conduct research on offshore wind structures, maritime operations, offshore power grids, and other digital solutions.
Our previous research centre, NOWITECH, which we headed from 2009 to 2017, developed 40 innovations within offshore wind energy with a calculated value of approximately NOK 50 billion. Some of these innovations have already been implemented and have more than recouped the investments in the research centre. We know that many of these innovations will be useful for the development of offshore wind energy.