Statoil (Stavanger, Norway) announced on Oct. 15 its intention to close down the Hywind Maine Pilot wind energy project, which was to demonstrate the viability of floating wind turbine technology for the U.S. energy market, via a four-turbine-12 MW wind farm some distance off the coast of Maine. Statoil said the decision to demobilize all activities and pull resources from the project reflects what the company called "changes in the framework conditions in the state, uncertainty around the commercial framework," and said that the schedule implications of project delays made the project outcome too uncertain to justify more effort.
Maine's Republican governer, widely quoted as saying the project was too expensive, and generally known to have little interest in wind energy development, is seen by energy industry observers as the project's most significant obstacle.
Statoil will now focus on the Hywind concept in Scotland, a project the company has matured in parallel with Hywind Maine during the past three years.
Trine Ulla, head of business development for Floating Wind in Statoil said, “Regardless of our exit in Maine, we will continue to explore the U.S. offshore wind market. The U.S. holds several locations with good wind conditions, deep waters and proximity to load centers.” Ulla noted that the decision was a difficult one, and that Statoil appreciates the support for the project both at the state and federal levels. “We have been met with enthusiasm and strong support from a broad range of local and federal stakeholders.”
Statoil is an international energy company with operations in 36 countries. Building on 40 years of
experience from oil and gas production on the Norwegian continental shelf, the company says it is "committed to accommodating the world’s energy needs in a responsible manner, applying technology and creating innovative business solutions." Statoil is headquartered in Norway, with 21,000 employees worldwide, and is listed on the New York and Oslo stock exchanges.
For more information on Statoil, visit the Web site: www.statoil.com.
Hywind is the world’s first full-scale floating offshore wind turbine project. Statoil’s single-turbine,
Hywind demonstration project in Norway, in production since 2009, reportedly has proven the technology, and based on the experiences gained, the concept is being optimized. A pilot farm, such as that planned for Maine, was to enable further conceptual enhancements. Combined with an experienced supply chain, this technology is still expected to offer significant reductions in the cost of energy in the future.
For more information on Hywind, visit the Web site: www.statoil.com/hywind.