April 15, 2019 / 11:41 AM / 9 months ago

In windy Greek seas, Equinor looks for floating offshore projects

ATHENS (Reuters) - Norway’s energy giant Equinor sees good potential for building floating offshore wind parks in Greece as long as the country adopts a regulatory framework for the technology.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, is seen at the company's headquarters in Fornebu, Norway May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Nerijus Adomaitis

Equinor, one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, operates Hywind park in Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind park, and is struggling to find new renewables projects to invest in.

In comments approved for release on Monday, Equinor’s leading business developer said the company had been exploring opportunities in Greece.

“I think the physical potential is there. There are areas with good wind, suitable water depths,” Arne Eik, Equinor’s leading business developer for floating offshore wind, told Reuters.

“Now, it’s whether there will be framework conditions that will allow developers to build a project.”

Greece wants to boost renewables in order to cut costly reliance on fossil fuel, tapping into windy conditions on its islands.

It aims to double the share of solar and wind power in electricity generation to 48 percent by 2030 from 26 percent in 2016.

Greece last week said it would adopt a new legislative and regulatory framework to include floating offshore structures and move ahead with a pilot tender by the end of the first half next year, a message which Eik said was “encouraging”.

Under its long-term energy plan, the country aims to add 2 gigawatt to about 5 gigawatt of installed solar and wind capacity in electricity production by 2020, targeting a total 13 gigawatt by 2030.

“It looks like floating offshore wind could be needed in order to achieve the targets,” Eik said.

Equinor would be interested in a project of at least 200 megawatt in the country before seeking to build a portfolio, Eik said.

“We are interested in building scale in order to get down the costs and we also think that this is important for Greece,” he said, adding that this could create opportunities for local industries in maritime and cables.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Ed Osmond

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