Development of the first floating offshore wind farm in the Arctic Circle is moving forward, with three Norwegian companies releasing a project plan for the installation.
The GoliatVIND project is envisioned as a 75-MW array installed in deep water northwest of Hammerfest, Norway, in the Barents Sea. The installation would be linked into the Goliat oil production facility, which is operated by Vår Energi, a Norwegian oil and gas company, and Equinor, the energy giant headquartered in Norway. The platform is currently supplied with electricity from an underwater cable connected to power coming from onshore.
Vår Energi, Odfjell Oceanwind, and Source Galileo Norge are the groups developing the wind farm. Officials say they expect GoliatVIND could produce about 300 GWh of electricity annually. The project will include 15-MW turbines that would be installed on Odfjell Oceanwind’s floating wind foundation Deepsea Star. Officials on April 26 said they expect the wind farm could be operational as soon as 2026.
The Deepsea Star is a moored semisubmersible floating wind foundation in steel, according to Odfjell Oceanwind, which has said the design could be relevant for offshore wind locations across the North Atlantic. The waters in the area of GoliatVIND are 300 to 400 meters deep.
“GoliatVIND represents a perfect stepping-stone for Odfjell Oceanwind to demonstrate our Deepsea Star design, including our supply chain and our ability to deliver projects in a safe and reliable manner,” said Per Lund, CEO of Odfjell Oceanwind. “The Odfjell companies have long experience in operating steel semisubmersibles in the arctic Barents region, and we look forward to working closely with our project development partner Source Galileo to realize this project.”
“GoliatVIND is a very exciting yet challenging project for Source Galileo. Subject to final investment decisions, it will be our first floating offshore wind project,” said Gunnar Birkeland, CEO of Source Galileo Norge. “The location outside Finnmark north of Norway represents challenging environmental conditions, but the local infrastructure, like ports and bases, are representative of what we will face when developing similar projects across Europe. The knowledge we will gain together with Odfjell Oceanwind from developing and executing a project like this is invaluable for our journey towards floating offshore wind becoming an important part of the future energy mix.”
Officials are still awaiting a final investment decision for GoliatVIND. The project still needs some regulatory approvals, along with an environmental impact assessment. The consortium building the project is continuing a dialogue with other users of the Barents Sea, including fishing interests.
Odfjell Oceanwind has been developing floating offshore wind solutions for more than 20 years. Source Galileo is a European developer and investor in renewable energy systems, including solar, battery, hydrogen, and onshore and offshore wind. Source Galileo Norge is the group principally responsible for floating offshore wind in Norway. Odfjell Oceanwind and Source Galileo are developing floating wind projects in Norway and foresee participating in the competition for a seabed lease on Utsira Nord.
Oil and gas platforms in other areas already are being powered by offshore wind installations. The 88-MW Hywind Tampen project, launched by Equinor in 2020 and which entered operation in November 2022, is considered the first such installation. It was designed to provide power for the Snorre and Gullfaks offshore oil platforms in the North Sea.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).