Building on what we know
Hywind, off Karmøy near Stavanger, is the world’s first full-scale, floating wind turbine. (Photo: Octaga/Statoil)
Statoil’s executive vice president for Technology & New Energy held a presentation at the company’s energy seminar today, 16 March.
“It is characteristic of Statoil that we use our experience and innovative ability to solve new challenges,” said Øvrum and mentioned the company’s history as a pioneer in developing, testing and adopting new technology.
Statoil’s offshore expertise forms the foundation for the company’s commitment to offshore wind energy.
Margareth Øvrum, executive vice president for Technology & New Energy
(Photo: Helge Hansen)
“As a company we have considerable expertise which can also be used in the offshore wind sector,” said Øvrum. “This applies to everything from challenges associated with turbines, anchoring and modelling to seabed surveys.”
Tough weather conditions require a focus on health, safety and the environment during the installation, operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms.
Statoil has a lot of experience of building facilities and running marine operations in rough weather, and of engineering and developing complex projects. The company has knowledge and experience of how wind and weather can affect structures. It is also experienced in remotely controlled operations.
“In addition we have experience of energy trading which makes it possible for us to realise the value of the wind power we generate,” said Øvrum at the conference.
Winds of change
By 2020, 20% of the energy in the European Union will be renewable and wind power is expected to account for half of this growth. Offshore wind power is expected to grow by 20% annually.
The UK stands out as the most attractive market by far. The country has 40% of Europe’s wind resources and advantageous water depths. It also faces a big challenge when it comes to energy supplies and to meeting its commitments to renewables in the energy market. The UK has therefore established good and predictable frame conditions for offshore wind power.
Statoil is now gradually building up a wind energy portfolio.
“This will give us the opportunity to learn and develop the appropriate expertise, just like we have done in the field of oil and gas,” adds Øvrum.
Prices must fall
Wind energy entails a different type of risk management than hydrocarbons but health, safety and the environment are naturally in the spotlight. And wind energy is to a greater degree characterised by standard solutions and mass production. But to ensure profitability without subsidies, the technologies have to be optimised and improved and the costs need to be reduced.
Eighty per cent of the costs in generating wind energy are associated with investments and that is why Statoil has a particular focus on development costs.
“It’s particularly important to make lighter and larger turbines which are specially adapted to offshore wind,” Øvrum said.
Such turbines will provide greater regularity. Lower weight also makes both the turbine and the installation less expensive.
Øvrum is also pleased to affirm that there will be increased competition among the turbine suppliers and she hopes to see more suppliers. Not only because this will strengthen competitiveness but also because it is important that there is sufficient capacity in the market. Many large wind energy projects are being assessed at present.
“If the big ambitions are to be fulfilled, the industry is dependent on a reduction in costs,” said Øvrum.