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New project will enable faster development of offshore wind

The Research Council allocates NOK 28 million to the ImpactWind Sørvest project, led by NORCE. UiS is an important research partner in the project. Professor Muk Chen Ong leads one of the work packages.

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From left: Senior researcher at NORCE, Atle Blomgren leads the project and Professor Muk Chen Ong, University of Stavanger leads one of the work packages in the project.

Over the next five years, NORCE, together with its research partners: University of Bergen (UiB), University of Agder (UiA) and University of Stavanger (UiS), as well as industry partners, will develop more efficient and thorough application processes so that offshore wind development can proceed more quickly.

"It is a political goal to develop offshore wind on the Norwegian shelf in Agder, Rogaland and Vestland, but often the process from decision to final construction of the wind turbines can be long and inefficient. By collecting relevant data and developing research-based knowledge and long-term educational and research capacity, we can make the application processes more efficient", says senior researcher at NORCE, Atle Blomgren, who will lead the project.

In addition to NORCE, UiB, UiA and UiS are also involved in the research side. Offshore wind is an important focus area for UiS and professor Muk Chen Ong, leader for OTICS, will, among other things, lead the work in a work package that will address educational promotion.

"In the first years, we will look at the possibilities for developing continuing and further education offers. Later in the project period, we are considering creating new sub-courses in existing, specialized degree programs aimed at the energy field", explains Muk Chen Ong.

In addition, eight industry partners, four key business clusters and two industry associations are also part of the project. Agder, Rogaland and Vestland counties support the project as these three counties are located close to the planned offshore wind areas.

"I would like to congratulate the research communities in NORCE and all our partners on the award of the offshore wind project. With this award, NORCE will contribute with the development of new knowledge that can create new industrial opportunities for Norwegian industry and the oil supplier industry in Agder, Rogaland and Vestland counties", says Kristin Wallevik, CEO of NORCE.

Thorough investigation of consequences

Before the industry is allocated an area where they can build either bottom-fixed or floating offshore wind, a thorough assessment of the consequences of the development must be made. In this process, area conflicts may arise related to interest groups within e.g. fisheries, bird life and oil, because offshore development will affect their resource base.

"The assessment of consequences must be thorough and effective, as otherwise it can be a "show-stopper" and extend the time before the industry is awarded assignments in offshore wind. Therefore, it is important to gather scientific expertise in areas such as marine technology, meteorology, marine biology, economics, digitization and law, so that the impact assessments are as thorough as possible.

Will increase competence in offshore wind

A report from Norsk Industri on competence environments points out that Norway has a lot of relevant competence environments, but so far few educational offers specifically aimed at offshore wind. 

"Therefore, it will be an important part of the project to develop specialized continuing and further education offers in collaboration with the offshore industry and enter into a dialogue with the offshore wind industry on long-term competence needs".

The allocation of NOK 28 million from the Research Council triggers own efforts and industrial support, so that you get a total project budget of approx. 54 million. The project has seven relevant wind farm developers as industrial partners, all with strong regional roots in the southwest: NorSea Group, Aker Offshore Wind, Norseman Wind, Shell, BKK, Agder Energi and Deep Wind Offshore.

The first part of the project will begin in the first quarter of 2022 and the project is expected to be completed in 2027.