Speech/statement | Date: 24/08/2023 | Office of the Prime Minister
Your Royal Highness, Ladies and gentlemen, we are now standing right in the middle of what has become Norway’s electricity powerhouse.
Ocean. Wind. Sun. Oil. Gas.
And today is an important day.
Norway puts all these natural energy sources to good use – extracting resources and producing energy that is sorely needed both in Norway and in the rest of the world.
Trygve Bratteli was one of my predecessors as Prime Minister. He officially opened the Ekofisk field in 1971, at the very beginning of our oil and gas success story. Mr Bratteli was not given to exaggeration: in his opening speech, he spoke of seeing ‘certain prospects’ for Ekofisk.
Standing here today and looking back on everything that has happened since 1971, I feel justified in saying that we can now see great prospects ahead.
From this vantage point, we can also trace the contours of Norway’s modern industrial history.
For over 50 years, Norway’s offshore oil and gas production has provided the world with much-needed energy.
The industry has also been instrumental in Norway’s development into a highly advanced welfare state, with a large degree of social equality and huge potential for further development. And a country where our aim is to ensure that the revenues and wealth we generate are shared equitably.
And now we are writing the next chapter in Norway’s energy history.
Right here and now, Norwegian industry and new natural resources are being brought together in ways we could only dream of before. Offshore wind offers opportunities for a new industrial era. We are taking important steps towards our climate targets, and we are gaining access to new, clean energy.
As a politician, I have often been critical of the claim that we are living in the oil age. It is more accurate to say that Norway as a nation is living in the energy age, where we transfer knowledge and skills from one energy sector and use them to develop other types of energy.
Hywind Tampen is proof that technology from the oil and gas industry can be used to develop green, renewable energy.
Many of you who are here today – people who work on offshore platforms and for Equinor and its partners, and engineers and suppliers, have long experience and expertise from the oil and gas industry.
This makes me very proud. And it fills me with hope.
On behalf of everyone in Norway, I would like to thank all of you who have kept going through storms, fog and harsh conditions and have coped with the absence of family and loved ones while developing this facility for the benefit of society as a whole. You deserve our warmest thanks.
You have transferred your expertise and skills to new areas in a prime example of transformation in practice.
Today is a historic day.
This is the world’s largest floating wind farm. In my capacity as Prime Minister, I meet colleagues from across the world who are now looking to Norway. Floating offshore wind power is precisely what the world is going to need in future, and Norway is leading the way.
This is also the first wind farm in the world to supply electricity to oil and gas fields.
Hywind Tampen has a system capacity of 88 megawatts. This is a rather abstract measure for many people, but it means that in the course of a year, the wind farm can provide enough electricity to power 20 000 households.
The Hywind Tampen wind turbines will be able to meet about 35 % of the annual electricity needs of the Gullfaks and Snorre fields.
This means a lot in itself, but in a few years’ time we will see that it is only the beginning of something that is to become a major value chain.
Hywind Tampen will cut CO2 emissions by 200 000 tonnes per year. And we know that every tonne matters. We can talk theoretically about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it is the actual figures that count. And this project will cut CO2 emissions by 200 000 tonnes and NOx emissions by 1000 tonnes. This is important progress.
Hywind Tampen is also important because of its role in technology development. As people in Equinor have said to me, we will gradually be able to expand and scale up the technology. This will create opportunities for the Norwegian supplier industry. And my thanks therefore also go to those who have been involved all along the value chain.
Our current circumstances, with high electricity prices and an urgent need for more power, make this a particularly important project. Both because we are in the middle of an energy transition, and because there is war in Europe and energy is in short supply for the first time in many years.
Both Norway and the rest of Europe need more electricity.
Whenever I travel and am asked questions about energy, the answers nearly always involve boosting electricity supplies, developing the grid, expanding energy efficiency measures and using electricity wisely.
And if we in Norway and the rest of Europe are to achieve our climate targets, we should be using renewable electricity.
As I see it, leading Norway through the green transition is far and away the most important task for the Government and for me personally.
Today’s official opening is an important part of this task.
Offshore wind is a new chapter in the story of Norway as an energy nation.
Our ambition is for licences for production of 30 000 MW of offshore wind power on areas of the Norwegian continental shelf to be awarded by 2040.
This is equivalent to about 75 % of overall production capacity in the Norwegian electricity system today, which gives an idea of the scale of our ambition. Areas from north to south in Norwegian waters are being considered, so that all parts of the country can benefit from the developments. We have a formidable task ahead of us.
The Norwegian continental shelf offers abundant wind resources. Norway also has world-leading expertise in offshore wind. And we have all of you who are working in the field. All this means that we have opportunities that are not available anywhere else – and we must use them to the full.
There is already close cooperation and a high level of trust between the business sector, local and central government and other authorities. We know the direction we want to go in, and how to share the work.
All this makes me confident that we can succeed.
It is true of course that offshore wind is expensive at present. But by making a start, and providing the capacity to deliver, as the project partners and the authorities have done here at Hywind Tampen, we can make cost reductions possible in future as the offshore wind industry expands.
Somebody has to lead the way and clear a path – and that is what we are doing now.
And we are doing it in tough competition with other countries.
But this is not a reason to hang back. On the contrary, we want Norway to be one of the pioneers.
Floating offshore wind power is what the world is going to need.
Norway has what it takes – both the natural resources and the expertise. This opens up major opportunities for Norwegian firms and experts and for the Norwegian supplier industry.
We will develop Norwegian offshore wind power in consultation with the fisheries and other ocean-based industries.
Norway has much larger sea areas than many countries, and can develop offshore wind wisely and in a way that will benefit everyone.
Everyone in Norwegian society must have their fair share of the wealth created through offshore wind production. This means for example using it to ensure that jobs are available in all parts of the country, and that there are sufficient resources available to provide good schools for our children and good health services for everyone.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Hywind Tampen is situated halfway between the Gullfaks and Snorre oil and gas fields. We send special greetings to those of you out on the Snorre field. The subsea cable network now links Hywind Tampen to both fields.
In a wider context, we are linking an earlier industrial success story with a new one.
But this is not just a story, it is reality.
The offshore wind industry stands firmly on the shoulders of the oil and gas industry.
This position – a head higher, but on secure foundations – gives the Norwegian industry competitive advantages both nationally and internationally.
And this is just the start for the offshore wind industry.
Thank you for your attention, for your hospitality, and for the opportunity to see so much out here. And in particular, thank you to those of you who have been and still are doing the work, and will be doing the work in the future. On behalf of all of us – thank you, and congratulations on this important milestone!