The first-ever floating wind farm in the Arctic Circle could be turning as early as 2026, following the unveiling of an innovative project plan by Norwegian trio Odfjell Oceanwind, Source Galileo Norge and Vår Energi.

The GoliatVind project, a 75MW array to be installed in up-to-400 metres of water northwest of Hammerfest in the Barents Sea, would be wired into the nearby Goliat oil production platform, which is operated by Vår Energi and part state-owned energy giant Equinor.

Some 300GWh a year of electricity could flow from the array, set to be built around 15MW turbines mated to Odfjell’s novel Deepsea Star semisub hulls, and on to shore via an existing power line at the offshore development.

“The purpose of the project is increased production of renewable energy for electrification in a region that has large and rapidly increasing needs,” said Gunnar Birkeland, CEO of Source Galileo Norge, in a statement.

“GoliatVind is exciting because Norwegian offshore wind technology can be demonstrated in a demanding area. Such projects are also crucial to achieve our commitments in the Paris Agreement before 2030.”

The developers emphasised that the project is at “an early phase, where several factors, including regulatory framework, incentives and licences for development from the authorities, are under investigation before a concept and development decision can be made”.

Recharge is told “75% of the electrons [from GoliatVind] will end up in the Goliat platform” that is producing the eponymous 165 million barrel offshore oil field brought onstream in 2016 to decarbonise operations and “25% will go into the grid”.

Simen Lieungh, chairman of the board of Odfjell Oceanwind, said: “We have matured technology for floating wind that are also qualified for the Barents Sea. The solutions to be demonstrated are standardised and can be used in all locations in the North Atlantic suitable for floating wind.

“This is therefore a very important project for us, and one that will enable a rapid spread and scaling of the technology both to other projects in Norway and abroad. Systematic work over several years means that we can develop GoliatVIND as early as 2026 if all external factors are in place.

Lieungh added that the company was “in parallel” developing a supply chain that can help us realise wind [arrays] of this type”.

The developers spotlighted the “important prerequisite” that the project have “good coexistence with fisheries interests in the region and that the connection to Goliat does not entail an operational risk for production on the installation”, noting that “dialogue with local fisheries bodies and technical studies have been initiated”.

The Deepsea Star floating wind concept is an innovative next generation column-stabilised steel platform that eye-catchingly sets the turbine tower in the centre of the platform – rather than over one of the three columns.

The design is in the process of undergoing basic design approval by DNV based on a Siemens Gamesa’s 14MW SG14-236DD including model tanks tests for “the harshest environment locations.

After years of wavering, Norway last month at last unveiled tenders for 3GW of fixed-bottom and floating projects, with auctions for Sørlige Nordsjø 2 (Southern North Sea 2) to be awarded into two 1.5GW phases and a further 1.5GW to be tendered on the deepwater Utsira Nord acreage via three up-to-500MW floating projects.

The government this week revealed plans to assess 20 more areas for potential projects in its waters – the majority are in depths necessitating floating turbines.

Ten times more offshore wind plant could be built in the waters off Norway than the current government 30GW by 2040 target, a recent study commissioned by a Equinor-led developer group concluded.

The analysis, carried out for a group that included Source Galileo, Hafslund, Deep Wind Offshore, and the Norwegian Offshore Wind cluster, found almost 340GW of bottom-fixed and floating wind farms could be constructed “in areas with a low level of conflict” with other maritime industries.

Despite having only two turbines turning in its waters – the Equinor-launched Hywind Demo switched on in 2008 and the Stiesdal Tetraspar prototype – Norway was recently ranked one of the world's most attractive markets” for floating wind by research specialist 4C Offshore.

Consultancy DNV calculates floating projects currently make up over 15% of the total offshore wind deployment in the global pipeline for switch-on by mid-century, equal to some 264GW of the 1,750GW slated to be installed.