Editorial / 09 Jul 2023

Norway’s Winds of Change

Transitioning from oil & gas to offshore wind

Norway is renowned for its commitment to renewable and green energy. And now, it is embracing offshore wind as a vital component of its transition to cleaner fuel sources.

Thanks to its geographical location and immediate access to the North Sea, Norway is well-positioned to tap into the vast potential of offshore wind which, until recently, has been largely unexploited. Although 98% of the country’s electricity production comes from renewable energy sources, most is generated by hydropower. Wind - and the offshore sector in particular - contributes a small portion to the total output.

Nonetheless, as the drive to capture more power from renewable sources becomes even more urgent, the role of wind power is growing, and the number of wind turbines increases year on year.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre wants to turn a country that built its wealth on oil and gas - and is still Europe’s biggest supplier - into an exporter of renewably-sourced electricity.

As Norway strives to develop 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040, GAC is playing a vital role in supporting the country’s ambitious targets through Marine Energy Test Centre (METCentre) projects. And in doing so, it is helping work towards the goal of Norway becoming a leading player in offshore technology development and eventually, a green energy powerhouse.

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Renewable energy innovation
Founded in 2009, the METCentre is at the forefront of offshore development projects – an example of Oslo's commitment to offshore renewable energy. From its location off the Norwegian coast, it serves as a platform for testing and refining cutting-edge offshore technologies, from planning and logistics to installation and maintenance. Notably, the centre is home to several pioneering projects such as the SeaTwirl floating wind turbine, development of the FLAGSHIP floating wind farm and the Makani offshore energy kite.

Mikael Rodseth, GAC Norway’s General Manager, says: “The significance of the METCentre cannot be understated in this endeavour, as it facilitates cutting edge renewable energy testing. And at GAC, we are committed to supporting the METCentre's ambitions, no matter the challenge.”

Mikael Rodseth

METCentre and GAC Norway
GAC Norway is an early member of Norwegian Offshore Wind and has actively participated in preconstruction surveys and installation of offshore wind turbines at the METCentre. The company supported the mobilisation and demobilisation of vessels by securing licenses from government agencies, assisting with procurement and ship spares, and facilitating crew changes, advancing Norwegian offshore wind projects.

It is doing so by adapting much of its long-standing experience and expertise gained from supporting offshore oil and gas. That experience in the energy sector proved essential during one of METCentre’s key projects in early 2021 when GAC Norway also had to contend with Covid-related challenges.

GAC facilitating crew changes
Facilitating crew changes

"The pandemic threw a major spanner in the works for this project,” says Heine Hovda, GAC Norway’s Business Development Manager. “Travel restrictions and office closures meant that we had to adapt to changing regulations, locally and globally, while ensuring that all personnel involved were properly vaccinated, tested and taken care of, alongside submitting the necessary paperwork.”

GAC Norway's extensive involvement in the energy sector and its ability to navigate complex regulations and uncertainties enabled it to provide uninterrupted support. Its work in this area shows remarkable flexibility in supporting offshore development projects.

GAC’s early work in offshore installation projects in Norway positions the company at the forefront of the industry. This strategic advantage allows it to anticipate future challenges and develop tailored solutions, cementing its position as a trusted partner for offshore wind projects. By leveraging its experience, knowledge and network, GAC Norway aims to help the country achieve its ambitious goals in the renewable energy sector.

Leading the way
International pressure to shift from carbon-based energy sources demands strategic redirection towards renewable energy. The expertise found in the oil and gas sector has established the bedrock for efforts to exploit offshore wind energy.

Industry players operating in the Norwegian energy market have recognised the imperative to adapt to environmental concerns. By harnessing the country’s offshore resources for renewable energy, Norway has a sustainable and greener future ahead.

As Norway forges ahead in its quest to transition towards cleaner energy sources, GAC Group's unwavering support and expertise are pivotal in driving the growth of the offshore renewables market. Through its involvement with the METCentre projects, GAC is actively facilitating the testing, development, and deployment of innovative offshore technologies that will enable Norway to realise its ambitions.

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