Norway Begins Surveys for Expansive Offshore Wind Plans
The Norwegian government is moving ahead with an ambitious offshore wind program after embarking on preliminary surveys at one of two sites in the North Sea.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), which was tasked with conducting surveys in two areas that have opened for applications for offshore wind - Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord - has chartered the survey vessel Fugro Venturer to conduct pilot surveys in the eastern part of Nordsjø II.
The Norwegian government recently established a framework for opening the areas of Utsira North and Southern North Sea II for offshore renewable energy production. Efforts were also initiated to identify potential new areas along the coast that are suitable for offshore wind power development. The objective is to open an area totaling five to six times the size of the Southern North Sea II lease area, or roughly one percent of Norway’s waters.
The country hopes to generate 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2040, nearly equivalent to the amount of electricity currently being produced in Norway. Over the period, Norway hopes to install around 1,500 new offshore wind turbines.
In Utsira North, the target is to develop 1.5 GW of capacity using floating offshore wind technology, which will be required for the site's 875-foot average depth. Projects of 1.5 GW each will also be developed in the Southern North Sea II area located between Norway and Denmark.
Mobilization of the pilot survey started in Aberdeen, Scotland, where a team of geophysical and hydrographic researchers met on board the Venturer for a tour and a review of the equipment on board.
“The NPD has extensive experience and considerable expertise in operating seismic surveys from oil and gas activities. A sound factual basis is crucial in order to manage the resources in the best possible way,” said Arne Jacobsen, NPD Assistant Director for Technology, Analyses and Coexistence.
The survey that is expected to be concluded in early October will involve collecting basic seismic, bathymetry and water column data, in addition to towing a magnetometer and side scan sonar. The data will be important in the effort to draw up development plans and will be part of data sets for the companies awarded licenses to develop offshore wind projects in the area. NPD intends to complete the whole process by the end of the year.
Built in 2017, the 71.6 meter Venturer is part of Fugro's high-end survey fleet. The vessel is equipped to stream large quantities of data back to shore for rapid processing and analysis.