Norway’s government has approved a NKr2.3bn ($257m) application for funding to support Equinor’s 88MW Hywind Tampen project, which is slated to become the world’s first floating wind farm supplying renewable power to offshore oil and gas installations.

Equinor and its partners are considering using future electricity from Hywind Tampen to power its exploration activities at the Gullfaks and Snorre fields in Norway’s continental shelf. Equinor is leading the development of both oil and gas fields, but a final investment decision has not been taken yet.

“The support that the licences have received for the Hywind Tampen project demonstrates the will of Norwegian authorities to invest in and develop floating offshore wind farms and renewable energy supplies,” said Pål Eitrheim, executive vice president for new energy solutions at Equinor.

“With this support we have taken an important step forward in realising the project. Now it is up to the licences to further mature the project towards a final investment decision this autumn.”

The funding would come from the programme for full-scale innovative energy and climate measures of Enova, a government enterprise owned by Norway’s ministry of climate and environment, and represent almost half of the NKr5bn Hywind Tampen is expected to cost.

The project can already count on support from the business sector’s NOx Fund of up to NKr556m.

“The Hywind Tampen project will contribute to further developing floating offshore wind technology and reducing the costs of future floating offshore wind farms, offering new industrial opportunities for Norway, the licences and Norwegian supplier industry in a growing global offshore wind market,” said Olav-Bernt Haga, project director for Hywind Tampen.

Hywind Tampen is slated to feature eleven 8MW turbines, and would be able to meet around 35% of the annual power demand of the five platforms planned at the two oil and gas fields. In periods of strong wind, the percentage will be much higher, Equinor stressed.

The seven partners in Snorre and Gullflaks are planning to take an FID for Hywind Tampen in the fall.

Equinor holds a 51% stake in Gullfaks, with Petoro AS holding 30%, and OMV (Norge) another 19%. In Snorre, Equinor holds 33.3%, Petoro 30%, ExxonMobil E&P Norway 17.5%, Idemitsu Petroleum Norge 9.6%, DEA Norge 8.6%, and Vår Energi 1.1%.