The city of Arendal transformed into a hub of discourse and networking last week as Ventyr, attended Arendalsuka (The Arendal Week). This annual event, serving as a convergence of politicians, organizations, businesses, academia, and the public, drew in thousands of socially engaged participants.

For Ventyr the spotlight this year was undeniably on offshore wind, with various sessions dedicated to exploring its potential. Among the active participants, representatives from NorSea stood out, sharing their insights and perspectives.

The Grand Offshore Wind Evening

The highlight of Monday evening was the grand event titled “The Big Offshore Wind Evening,” co-hosted by Norwegian Offshore Wind, Fornybar Norge, and Offshore Norge. John E. Stangeland, CEO of NorSea, shared his views. A pivotal question echoed through the evening’s discussions: “What does it take to achieve our set goals?”

Stangeland emphasized that realizing these goals requires not only dedication from industry players but also public support.

“Opportunities abound, and we need a thriving market and potentially enormous investments and job creation,” he emphasized passionately.

Arvid Nesse, head of Norwegian Offshore Wind, further accentuated the employment aspect. He highlighted the immense potential for creating a new industry with numerous job opportunities and promising export avenues.

Fornybar Norge (Renewables Norway), echoing the sentiments of the participants, strongly advocated for seizing the opportunities laid before us. Their message was clear: allowing these opportunities to slip through our fingers would be a missed chance, as other countries are ready to grasp them.

“The tempo must not falter post-Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II,” urged Aslaug Haga, the organization’s leader.

Seizing the oportunities ahead

Arendalsuka 2023 witnessed the eminent presence of Giles Dickson, the CEO of WindEurope. His contributions were both illuminating and pragmatic. He participated in multiple sessions hosted by The Energy Capital Stavanger, offering his resolute recommendations for Norway’s offshore wind future.

Dickson emphasized the imperative of swift action: “The advantages of moving now are huge, and the risk of not moving quickly is equally significant.”

He noted that many European countries are rapidly advancing their plans for floating offshore wind auctions.

“Norway must not lag behind, as this could jeopardize its supply chain.”

Michael Hannibal, partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), also participated during the week. CIP, along with NorSea and Parkwind, are partners in the Blåse consortium, which focuses on floating offshore wind. However, Hannibal also commented on the broader offshore wind efforts in Norway.

“Norway has ambitious targets with an official goal of building 30 GW of offshore wind by 2040. Together with our partners NorSea and Parkwind, and our power partners Hammerfest Energi and Varanger Kraft, the Blåse consortium along with our other financing and technology partners from KLP and Kongsberg, we are ready to take part in this work. Floating offshore wind fits perfectly along the Norwegian coast, and the wind industry could very well be the next offshore adventure for our Nordic neighbors,” says Michael Hannibal.

Arendalsuka: A platform for progress

Giles Dickson also expressed his admiration for Arendalsuka as a platform for holistic discussions on the challenges and potential solutions that extend beyond the realm of wind or energy. The event’s focus on diverse public policy areas and the shared efforts to tackle them collaboratively impressed him.

Reflecting on the progress within a year, State Secretary Anders Bjelland Eriksen affirmed that significant headway had been made since last year’s discussions on the feasibility of offshore wind in Norwegian waters.

“The launch of 20 new potential areas and the approaching application deadlines for the first two areas marked substantial strides.”

In total, 38 events revolved around offshore wind or related themes during Arendalsuka 2023. NorSea’s involvement extended beyond the “Big Offshore Wind Evening,” including participation in SIVA’s event titled “Can Emission-Heavy Industrial Parks Become a Green Competitive Advantage?”

Discussions delved into co-locating industries to achieve climate and environmental gains, identifying challenges and opportunities, securing sustainable capital, and facilitating competitive, green industrial parks through collaboration between national and local policymakers.

John Stangeland, representing NorSea, contributed invaluable insights to these discussions, reaffirming the company’s commitment to sustainable progress.

As Arendalsuka 2023 concluded, it left behind not only a week of meaningful interactions and exchanges but also a resounding call to embrace the opportunities of offshore wind with dedication and collaboration.