Norway to discuss construction of its first floating wind farms next week

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s energy minister will meet with companies on Wednesday to discuss the potential construction of offshore floating wind farms, he told Reuters on Friday.

The meeting is the first concrete step to spur development of offshore floating power generation, after the government said last December it would seek to accommodate such plans.

“Wednesday next week I will have a meeting with different stakeholders in offshore wind and discuss both the opening process and the regulatory framework,” Terje Soeviknes said.

Unlike offshore wind turbines that are fixed to the seabed, floating wind parks are seen as potentially more feasible for use in deeper waters.

The minister didn’t name any firms, but Norway’s Equinor, which recently changed its name from Statoil to increase its focus in renewable energy, has said it will take part in the country’s first such tender if there are subsidies.

The company said in May it expected about 13 gigawatt (GW) of floating offshore wind to be installed globally by 2030 and aimed to take “a fair share” of that.

Equinor is also the owner of the world’s first floating offshore wind farm project, a 30 megawatt farm called Hywind off the coast of Scotland, and is already maturing a project in Norway to combine floating wind with oil platforms.

Norway’s energy minister expected to conclude the discussions within a few months.

“By autumn I hope we will have a proposal. Perhaps we need to go through the parliament with this,” he said.

Norway is western Europe’s top producer of oil and natural gas, and has so far lagged Nordic neighbors Denmark and Sweden in wind power developments.

Editing by Terje Solsvik