Equinor is looking to explore opportunities within offshore solar power, and together with Moss Maritime, Equinor wants to start testing off the island of Frøya.
The plan is to construct a floating pilot plant off Frøya near Trondheim in the late summer of 2021. It is set to become the world’s first solar floating pilot plant in challenging waters.
The Municipality of Frøya has been supportive and has been active in the preparation of the pilot plant. Equinor has filed an application with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. Designed to measure 80mx80m, the plant is towering less than 3 meters above sea level. The pilot will be tested for a period of one year according to the plans. The project consists of a partnership between Equinor and the technology company Moss Maritime.
The aim of the pilot plant is not specifically to see how much electricity it can generate, but to see how weather conditions impact the plant. The Norwegian coast and the continental shelf are world class when it comes to oil, gas and wind, but when it comes to sunlight, other regions provide better conditions. Frøya is still very suitable as a research area.
“The municipality of Frøya has been a good collaboration partner for us. We have reached an agreement with the grid owner, allowing the electricity that is produced to enter the power grid on Frøya. In addition, the nearness to our research centre in Trondheim, and the expertise possessed by the Sintef and NTNU research institutions, represent an advantage for us.
“It is very exciting that Frøya has been chosen as the host municipality for the testing of new renewable energy sources, such as solar power. With our natural conditions, we are a good location for a full-scale pilot plant within research and development.”Hanne Wigum, head of the Equinor technology unit focusing on wind and solar power.
“We have been working on this concept for the past three years, most recently through our partnership with Equinor, and the concept has been substantially matured, both technically and economically. The floating pilot plant will be an important step on the road towards technology commercialization, and an important arena for further development and optimization of the concept.”Alexander Thøgersen, vice president, engineering, at Moss Maritime.
Equinor is already involved in a project off Sri Lanka. Here a concept in calm waters is being tested to decide how to produce as much energy as possible.
“We choose to perform several research projects in parallel because of the rapid growth within renewable energy. This enables us to acquire optimal knowledge about this as early as possible.”Hanne Wigum, head of the Equinor technology unit focusing on wind and solar power.