Offshore wind, electricity rates | Clear talk about offshore wind: unprofitable

Offshore wind, electricity rates |  Clear talk about offshore wind: unprofitable

LYSAKER (Nettavisen): The government has announced a huge investment in offshore wind in the coming years. But doubts exist, both about technology, costs and profitability.

When asked why offshore wind is so important to Norway, CEO Kristian Reinning Tönsen of Statkraft answered:

Because it is a very large renewable resource. It is important to start and develop an industry. Offshore winds can partially replace oil and gas revenues in the future.

What kind of energy is the least expensive to produce today?

– In Norway, new onshore wind power is less expensive, as well as some hydroelectric development. But there is a limit to the amount of upgrades we can do there. In the future, I think offshore wind could become profitable and what would help volumes more. It must be enhanced by investing in hydroelectric power.

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Far from being profitable

Waterways manager Kjetil Lund was aware that today’s floating offshore wind is nowhere near as profitable. These are turbines farther out to sea where the winds are stronger and not firmly anchored to the sea floor.

– I agree that today’s floating offshore winds will require support. It’s an early technology, but we believe that over time there is great potential for cost reductions.

– For fixed bottom turbines, the problem is in the design. Norway opted for a 200km offshore so that the turbines should only be connected to Norway, says Reinning-Tønnessen.

It will be expensive. He wants a different design with much more development for each area. The turbines must be technically connected both to Norway and abroad in order to be profitable,

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It will be expensive

– What happens if we don’t emit some energy?

– It is possible to do this on a limited scale, but it will be expensive if we want to make a large industry out of this. In order to achieve profitability and a significant net supply of energy for Norway, it must be connected at both ends.

Is profitable offshore wind possible without significant government subsidies?

– No, that’s why we have to cut costs. Floating offshore wind should have a boost now, because the technology is immature. In permanently installed turbines, the existing design means that government subsidies are required.

blowing at the same time

– But when it’s windy in the Norwegian part of the North Sea, surely it’s windy at the other end too?

– There is a high degree of low prices everywhere at the same time. But it can explode in Norway without blowing over the continent. The advantage, says Reinning-Tönnessen, is that the turbines in the North Sea are far from the main electricity market.

Is it impossible to meet Norway’s climate goals without a huge investment in offshore wind?

– Yes, I think we can say that.

Economics professor Einar Lee believes that we do not have advantages – advantages – to invest in offshore wind. The head of Statkraft disagrees.

We have three advantages. Norway has very good wind resources, which are among the best in the world. We have extensive experience in the field of oil and gas as well as hydropower as a security.

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twice the number of turbines

The head of Statkraft thinks more hydropower is possible. Producers can have twice as many turbines inside the mountain with the same amount of water.

– We can do this upgrade and it is very important, because few other countries have it. This cannot be done everywhere. But when it fits into it in the form of large magazines and a large landing height, we can produce more electricity in a shorter time and get a greater effect.

Statktaft plans to begin work on five energy upgrades in Norway by 2030. The most advanced of these are the plans for the Mauranger power station at Folgefonna in Hardanger.

Natural encroachments and cultural conflicts

And after the dispute over wind turbines on the Füssen Peninsula, it may become difficult to develop wind power on a large scale on land.

– I still think it is possible to build more on Earth. But it is a natural resistance, and there are natural encroachments and cultural conflicts around it. These are real struggles.

– There are fewer conflicts at sea. Rynning-Tønnesen replies that it’s not free there either, but it’s much easier.

Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

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