Speeches and statements

EERA DeepWind 2022

Minister of Petroleum and Energy Marte Mjøs Persen gave this digital speech to the EERA DeepWind 2022 conference in Trondheim on 19th January 2022.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great privilege for me to give the opening remarks of the DeepWind Conference 2022, generously hosted by SINTEF, NTNU and the European Energy Research Alliance.

This conference has been developing every year since 2004. Within the research & development community it is now firmly established as an important international venue on deep sea offshore wind.

I know that last year´s conference was on screen, and with the still ongoing pandemic, there was no choice but to do the same this year.

Even though we all look forward to being able to see each other face-to-face at events like this, I still believe patience is key. Health and safety has to come first.

That said, I sincerely hope we see the end of this sooner rather than later.

Offshore wind is centrally placed in the ongoing global transition to low carbon and renewable energy.

In the last few years, we have seen an impressive growth in installed capacity and with it, also increased ambitions.

Looking ahead, large-scale projects are expected to be commissioned also beyond the established markets around the North Sea.

Considerable growth is expected to come from France, the US and countries in Asia-Pacific.

Indeed, The International Energy Agency expects total offshore wind capacity to more than triple by 2026.

I can also assure you that offshore wind is high on the Government's agenda.

Moreover, the Norwegian government intends to publish an ambitious national strategy for offshore wind, which will include commitments to the supplier industry, regulations and a grid infrastructure on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Offshore wind is currently our largest renewable export.

Ship owners, shipyards and suppliers are increasingly turning their attention to this growing market.

With our vast offshore experience, floating offshore wind will be an area where Norwegian expertise, and Norwegian companies can play a very important role in future developments.

Hywind Tampen was the first, of hopefully many to come.

And as you know, two large areas for offshore wind have been opened - "Sørlige Nordsjø II" and "Utsira Nord".

I am pleased to say that there is a lot of interest for the opened areas.

Many strong consortiums have been formed, and they have expressed interest in applying for licenses in both areas.

I know there is impatience in the industry to progress, and I can assure you we are doing our utmost to meet the expectations. However, the issues involved are complex and we must make sure we get it right.

Actually, and very telling of the current situation, we are now in a process of hiring new personnel at my Ministry in order to deal with the increased role of offshore wind.

I look forward to welcoming new colleagues on board and I can promise them exciting tasks for years to come.

So far, so good. We see an impressive growth in offshore wind and ambitions are bold for the future.

However – there are remaining challenges. To mention a couple: We need cost reductions and technologies must and can be improved.

Research and development is crucial to secure lower costs, less environmental impact and improved operating models for offshore wind projects.

To fully realize the vast potential, we need dedicated research communities to address such challenges.

Even through screens, that´s exactly why I am so pleased to talk directly to you – leading scientists from all over the globe. You are united in your firm belief in the role of offshore wind to reach our common energy and climate targets.

Just before Christmas, Northwind – The newly established research centre for wind energy – held it´s very first major conference. There they presented some initial results after just about one year of operation.

Hosted by SINTEF and NTNU, the centre brings together more than 50 partners from research institutions and industry from all around the world.

The government contributes with a funding of 120 mill Norwegian kroner over an eight-year period, but industry also contribute both financially and by taking an active role in the centre.

Going forward, I believe such cooperation between the research community and industry is crucial. 

I have high expectations for what the centre can achieve in the coming years and I hope to make a visit to Trondheim in the near future.

Ladies and gentlemen, offshore wind is a modern and exciting technology with great potential for countries on every continent.

There is an exciting momentum building up. Bottom-fixed wind farms are already operating at scale in several places and floating offshore wind might very well represent the next wave in renewable energy.

There are remaining challenges, and I can assure you that our government is committed to backing this industry's activity on research and development.

Our support to the NorthWind research centre is a good example of that.

Thank you for your attention and enjoy the rest of the conference.