The Agder delegation visiting Aibel.

Politicians and administrators from municipalities in Agder spent Thursday with Equinor to discuss development of the Norwegian offshore wind industry.

Participants from the municipalities of Lindesnes, Lyngdal, Farsund, Flekkefjord, and Kristiansand were invited to the Aibel yard in Haugesund, where a new offshore wind HVDC station is being completed. The day ended in Stavanger, at the Equinor headquarters in Stavanger, where Equinor Executive Vice President Pål Eitrem and Equinor Director of Renewable Energy Norway, Siri Espedal Kindem, hosted the Agder delegation.

The mayors of Lindesnes, Lyngdal, and Farsund, and the Deputy Mayor of Flekkefjord attended the meeting together with representatives of Kristiansand Municipality, NHO Agder and LO. The meeting was arranged by Equinor to engage local and regional decision makers in preparation for a potential development of the Sørlige Nordsjø II offshore wind farm.

Left-right: Rune Klausen (Fremtidens Havvind), Anders Hangeland (Equinor), Siri Espedal Kindem (Equinor), Ingrid Williamsen (Mayor of Farsund), Arne Eik (Equinor), Pål Eitreim (Equinor), Alf Erik Andersen (Mayor of Lindesnes), Unni Nilsen (Mayor of Lyngdal), Høye Høyesen (NHO Agder), Mette Gundersen (LO Agder), Geir Haugum (Business Region Kristiansand), Roar Osmundsen (Kristiansand Chamber of Commerce), and Daniel Rogstad (Equinor).

If successful in the upcoming auction, Equinor is expected to partner with industry players in Agder to establish and run an assembly point for the wind turbines to be installed south of Agder, in addition to an operations and maintenance facility. There are several geographical alternatives, which is probably why Equinor was eager to meet with mayors and officials from a wider area.

Expressing concerns over the possibility of preparing a larger area for the offshore wind industry, only to find that another location was selected, the mayors were happy to accept Equinor’s offer to visit the municipal councils for further discussions.

During the day, Equinor talked about other offshore wind projects, including Doggerbank in the UK, to illustrate value creation and employment of an offshore wind project. According to Equinor, Sørlige Nordsjø II will generate many jobs.

Aibel’s revenues are now evenly divided between oil & gas and renewables, following a surge in offshore renewable projects in recent years – highlighting the business opportunities in the green transition.

Half of the revenues for the Aibel yard stems from the renewable sector. Left-right: Jan Erik Hogstad (Deputy Mayor of Flekkefjord), Unni Nilsen (Mayor of Lyngdal), Alf Erik Andersen (Mayor of Lindesnes), and Ingrid Williamsen (Mayor of Farsund).

“It was fascinating to see the effects of Aibel, as a workplace, to the region. Its ripple effects. For Agder, the question is not whether the offshore wind industry will arrive or not, the question is when and where it will arrive. If we make areas available for the offshore wind industry, the industry will be established in our region,” says Alf Erik Andersen, Mayor of Lindesnes.

In Lyngdal, the port of Hausvik is promoted as an industrial area suitable for offshore wind. Mayor of Lyngdal, Unni Nilsen, would be happy to welcome Equinor.

“Whether we will see offshore wind or other industries at Hausvik, remains to be seen. We are, however, keen to learning more about Equinor – as the largest Norwegian enterprise – and their plans. We need more jobs in Lyngdal and this presents a great opportunity for us,” says Nilsen.

Her counterpart in Farsund, Ingrid Williamsen agrees.

“It’s been a great day! Equinor was very pleased to meet a region that cooperates as well as we do. As of now, if Equinor should win the auction, the preparatory work in our region will serve us well. We would be happy to welcome a company that combines two thoughts; continued production of oil and gas and development of renewable energy,” says Williamsen.

Rune Klausen, Project Manager at Fremtidens Havvind, a project funded by Agder county and several municipalities to coordinate regional offshore wind efforts, concludes that Thursday was “a good and important day for regional cooperation”.

“We are very pleased to have such a great dialogue with Equinor. We had engaging discussions between the political leadership and Equinor management, and an interesting and enlightening visit to the Aibel yard. We are looking forward to the March auction for a license to build and operate the Sørlige Nordsjø II wind farm,” says Klausen.

Left-right: Høye Høyesen (NHO Agder), Sanne Jordan (GCE NODE), and Roar Osmundsen (Kristiansand Chamber of Commerce) at Aibel.