Equinor, Vargronn to jointly bid for floating wind project in Norway
Utsira Nord. Image by Equinor ASA (www.equinor.com)
Norwegian energy group Equinor ASA (NYSE:EQNR) and Vargronn have agreed to jointly bid to develop floating offshore wind at Utsira Nord in the Norwegian North Sea, it was announced today.
Utsira Nord is one of two areas, along with Sorlige Nordsjo II, that Norway has opened for offshore renewables. Authorities are currently considering a licensing process for offshore wind power projects.
Vargronn is a Norwegian renewable energy joint venture set up by Italian oil and gas majors Eni SpA (BIT:ENI) and Norwegian oil-and-gas-focused private equity firm HitecVision AS in November last year. It was then announced that Vargronn was preparing to compete in the upcoming tender for offshore wind licences.
Eni and HitecVision also jointly own oil and gas company Var Energi, which is a partner in Equinor's 88-MW Hywind Tampen floating wind power project due to start up in 2022.
"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," said Pal Eitrheim, executive vice president for New energy solutions in Equinor. He added that the company has the experience and capabilities needed to develop the next full-scale floating offshore wind farm in Norway after Hywind Tampen.
"This project will be an essential part of our ambition to own and operate 1 GW installed capacity by 2030," said Vargronn chief executive Olav Hetland.
When announcing the opening of the two areas last year, the Norwegian government said they provide the opportunity to develop a combined 4,500 MW of wind power. Utsira Nord spans 1,010 square kilometres and is suited for floating wind power, while the 2,591-sq-km Sorlige Nordsjo II can accommodate bottom-fixed wind parks and possibly floating solutions.