Equinor to trial floating solar in rough Norwegian waters

·1 min read
Equinor's logo is seen next to the company's headquarters in Stavanger

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor will build a pilot plant for floating solar power off the Norwegian coast which is expected to come online in the second half of 2021, the firm said on Thursday.

Set to become the world’s first such pilot located in rough waters, the project, located off the island Froeya near Trondheim, is a collaboration with technology company Moss Maritime.

The plant would be tested for a minimum of one year from late summer in the Northern hemisphere of 2021, Equinor added.

"If we succeed here, we can succeed anywhere," said Hanne Wigum, head of Equinor's technology unit for wind and solar power.

The purpose of the pilot is primarily to see how weather conditions will impact the plant, which will sit less than 3 metres above the sea's surface, Equinor said.

It would complement research on floating solar in calm sea waters in Sri Lanka and on lakes in the Netherlands, it added.

Like many of its European oil and gas peers, Equinor is under pressure from activists and investors to shift away from fossil fuels, and has branched out into global offshore wind power.

On Wednesday, the company announced it had won a major offshore wind tender on the U.S. east coast.

Equinor is also a partner in an onshore solar power plant in Brazil.

(Reporting by Nora Buli; editing by Victoria Klesty, Kirsten Donovan)