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Competence and momentum – key to unlocking offshore wind in Norway

Published on
March 18, 2024

Offshore wind is happening, and we have the odds on our side to make it a booming success in Norway. But to get there, we face some big hurdles.

This year's conference was held one week before Norway's first-ever offshore wind auction on the Norwegian continental shelf, Southern North Sea II.This provided an exciting backdrop for High Wind 2024.

Increased capital costs, supply chain limitations, and opportunities and challenges associated with ongoing licensing processes were discussed.

We are in the early stages of a new industry in Norway. We must do this right from the beginning and take environmental considerations seriously. Otherwise, we risk losing trust in society, said Øistein Johannessen, Industry Coordinator Offshore Wind Norway, Equinor.
Katrine Kleppan Blystad

Katrine Kleppan Blystad, Global head of Energy at DNB, believes there are three reasons why Norway will succeed with offshore wind.

Firstly, there are many projects in the pipeline. Secondly, there is robust political support globally, and ambitious targets have been set concerning both climate and renewable energy. And finally, major industrial players demonstrate strong commitment and a positive mindset to offshore wind, explained Blystad.

Never underestimate local content

In the panel discussion with the mayors of Stavanger, Sissel Hegdal Knutsen, Utsira, Marte Eide Klovning, Groningen, Philip Broeksma, and the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, David Cameron, the conversation revolved around how we can collaborate with the communities and industry to achieve an open dialogue where everyone feels heard and seen.

At Utsira, a huge wind farm has been in the early stages of development for years - Utsira Nord, where the local community and municipality has worked hard to let their demands towards the developers be heard and arranged for.

Lord Provost of Aberdeen said it is their responsibility as a representative of the community and liaison to the industry, to get rid of the misconceptions around offshore wind emphasizing that collaboration, cooperation and conversation is the way to do it.

Moderator Gine Wang-Reese, Marte Eide Klovning, David Cameron, Sissel Knutsen Hegdal and Philip Broeksma

Joining the conversation from Denmark, Mayor of Esbjerg, Jesper Frost Rasmussen stated that as former oil and gas cities, we have done difficult changes before. Meaning that when introducing offshore wind to our communities, we will meet resistance no matter what.

Every change is challenging. Everybody must be on board, pulling it in the same direction. If not, nobody is going to succeed, said Mayor Rasmussen.

Peter Robson, Offshore Ecology Lead, Scottish Power and Dina Boer, Energy Analysist, New Energy Coalition emphasized the crucial role of trust-building in developer-community relations, highlighting the need to address concerns and ensure direct benefits for local stakeholders.

Excursion to Egersund Energy Hub

On the second day of High Wind, 70 participants visited the Egersund Energy Hub, hosted by Energy Innovation. This pioneering training center, the first of its kind in Norway, specializes in offshore wind technician training. Attendees gained firsthand exposure to various training methodologies, including rope access, emergency evacuations, blade and machinery repairs, and virtual reality technologies.

Frank Emil Moen, CEO, Energy Innovation explained to us how if we are to reach 30GW in Norway by 2040, we need around 750 000 full time employees for the planning and installation, and 36 000 full time employees for operation and maintenance of the offshore wind farms. Rune Klausen, CEO of the National Competence Center for Offshore Wind Norway is working hard to map the need for competence and capacity in offshore wind, analyze the gap between industry needs and educational offering, develop strategies to put educational offerings and training into place and then implement these measures

Programmes for re/up-skilling ready for 24/25

Rogaland Polytechnical College and the University of Stavanger have both taken the offshore wind competence-challenge seriously. Robert Drønen, Department Head at the Rogaland Polytechnical College has started the work on the “Green Transition Project” where they are developing educations and subjects for battery, hydrogen, CCS, drones, and offshore wind. The first offshore wind programme is en route to start in August this year.

Mona W. Minde, Head of Department at UiS, a part of the development of a new collaborative and flexible program for re-skilling and up-skilling towards offshore wind. This is expected to start by 2025.

Jonas Husabø, Thomas Redmond, Mona W. Minde, Ånund Nærheim and Frank Emil Moen

We finished the day in Egersund with an exciting panel debate between Mona W. Minde, Thomas Redmond, Training Project Manager, Global Wind Organisation, Ånund Nærheim, Project manager for Offshore Wind, Lyse and Jonas Husabø, Recruiter and Business Developer, NAV Marked.

Husabø explained that in Rogaland there are at least 5000 people outside of the workforce between the age 18 and 30 years old. His job is to find the right youths and connect them with local companies. Last year 10 unemployed young men finished the first programme as wind technicians and got a permanent position at IKM Group.

Thank you for participating in High Wind 2024 and those of you who joined our excursion day to Egersund. We already look forward to next year!