World’s Largest Floating Wind Farm Generates First Power

power from largest floating wind farm
Hywind Tampen will be the largest floating wind farm and the first to power oil and gas platforms (Equinor)

Published Nov 14, 2022 4:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norway’s floating wind farm Hywind Tampen, located nearly 90 miles off the west coast began power production on Sunday, November 13. The project is unique both as it is part of the emergence of floating wind turbines as well as for the first time its power is being used at offshore oil and gas production sites to reduce their use of generators.

“I am proud that we have now started production at Hywind Tampen, Norway’s first and the world’s largest floating wind farm,” said Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s executive vice president for Projects, Drilling and Procurement. “This is a unique project, the first wind farm in the world powering producing oil and gas installations.” 

Owned by the Gullfaks and Snorre partners, the Hywind Tampen wind farm is expected to meet about 35 percent of the electricity demand of the two fields. The wind farm is expected to cut CO2 emissions from the fields by about 200,000 tons per year.

The floating wind farm will consist of 11 wind turbines upgraded from 8 to 8.6 MW. The turbines are being installed on a floating concrete structure with a joint mooring system. The location is adjacent to the Gullfaks A platform in the North Sea with a water depth between approximately 850 feet to nearly 1,000 feet.

“Hywind Tampen cuts emissions from the oil and gas industry and increases gas export to Europe. This is an important contribution towards transforming the Norwegian continental shelf from an oil and gas province to a broad energy province,” said Kjetil Hove, Equinor’s executive vice president for Exploration and Production Norway. “Just a few years ago, no one would have believed that offshore platforms could be powered by electricity from floating wind turbines.” 

The company reports that seven of the eleven turbines are scheduled to come on stream before the end of the year. The last four turbines have been assembled in Norway and will be towed to the site at a future date. The company said they will be installed on the field next year during a window of improved weather. 

Even with just seven turbines on stream, Hywind Tampen will be the world’s largest floating wind farm with a capacity of 60 MW. When the site reaches that level of production it will surpass the Kincardine floating offshore wind farm which is currently the largest floating offshore location. Production began at the site located approximately nine miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland in October 2021. The project consists of five Vestas V164-9.5 MW and one V80-2 MW turbine, each installed on semi-submersible platforms giving Kincardine a designed capacity of 50 MW.

Last week, ConocoPhillips China and Chinese Energy company CNOOC announced plans to develop an offshore wind farm to power China’s largest offshore oil and gas production base. Their plan calls for the installation of four wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 34 MW, which will be distributed onto the field’s power grid. Similar to Hywind Tampen, the Chinese project is expected to contribute about a third of the oil and gas installation’s power needs.