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The race for renewable energy abroad

It has been 13 years since the Norwegian petroleum industry came together and created the organization INTSOK. In that time, the Norwegian petroleum cluster has achieved NOK 120 billion in international turnover and 230 members. But the future export potential within renewable energy could be even greater than oil and gas, according to Norwegian Renewable Energy Partners INTPOW.

The motivation behind the creation of INTSOK in 1997 was the need for oil and gas service suppliers to target opportunities outside of the Norwegian Continental Shelf, which was becoming a mature province. The first oil find offshore of Norway had already been made in the 1960s.

What’s different this time is that INTPOW has been created at the start of the race for renewable energy, rather than decades into the process. INTPOW was started in March 2009 as a public-private partnership to promote Norwegian renewable energy capabilities internationally to meet the increasing need for hydropower, wind and solar, especially in the wake of the European 2020 climate goals.

“We see that INTSOK partners realize the advantage of joining forces as they receive relevant and important information ahead of the competition,” said Geir Elsebutangen, INTPOW managing director. “Speed is going to be the factor for the Norwegian industry.”

“The potential for INTPOW is greater than it is for oil and gas in export revenues. We will pass them in both number of members and revenue in some years’ time.”

Statoil and Statkraft are involved in the development of the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm off the coast of Norfolk. © Scira Offshore Energy

Hydropower Down South

INTPOW works in many ways similar to INTSOK. It functions as a network-based organization that helps members exchange information and learn from each other. It provides information on the markets and priority projects in the energy sector, offers advice on international markets, entry strategies, facilitates seminars and thematic workshops, and offers partner companies access to experienced local advisors in the main markets.

The organization will prioritize getting access to international hydropower markets, particularly South East Europe, with an initial focus on Turkey and Albania. Statkraft recently gained a foothold in Turkey through the acquisition of Yesil Enerji, giving it the rights to six hydropower projects with a total generation of 2 TWh annually. In Albania, Statkraft cooperates with Austrian energy company EVN on hydropower developments through a 50/50 joint venture.

INTPOW’s second priority within hydropower will be projects in sub-Saharan Africa, which has already attracted the attention of SN Power. Africa is an especially promising international market because it has developed only 7% of its hydropower potential. Ethiopia, for example, has the same gross theoretical potential for hydropower production as Norway at about 600,000 GWh per year, but has only 669 MW in installed capacity. Norway in comparison has 29,940 MW.

“Ethiopia has the potential to build up a capacity of 90,000 MW,” said Elsebutangen. “Ethiopia can export energy within a year or two. In these countries, you need guarantees for political risk. GIEK (the Norwegian guarantee institute for export credits) could be one solution.”

Windy North Sea
INTPOW’s focus after hydropower will be wind power, particularly offshore. Here Norway has a special advantage because of its competence within shipping and weather and wind dynamics, 40 years’ offshore oil experience, strong research and development community and capability to finance R&D projects.

The organization is primarily targeting opportunities in the North Sea, initially UK projects. According to Arena programme Norwegian Offshore Wind (NOW), there are plans for up to 40 GW in offshore wind power in European waters, representing up to 10,000 windmills.

Statkraft and Statoil, together with Scottish and Southern Energy, were recently successful in winning the successful bid for Dogger Bank, the largest zone in the third UK offshore wind licensing round. Statoil and Statkraft are also involved in the development of the 315 MW Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm in the UK.

“It is wonderful that Statkraft and Statoil have been given this opportunity,” said Trond Giske, Norway’s minister of trade and industry, in connection with the Dogger Bank announcement in January. “We have 40 years’ offshore operational experience with these types of installations. In that perspective, this may become an industrial boom.”

INTPOW is in the process of completing a Norwegian offshore wind supply chain list that maps out potential suppliers within research, technology, environmental and consulting, engineering, electrical and grid, installation, legal and finance, and development and owners.

Statkraft completed construction of its very first solar park, Casale, in December 2009. The park can generate 4.5 million kWh of renewable energy per year, enough to meet the energy requirements of 1,200 Italian households. © Statkraft

Sunny Italy

The third big opportunity for INTPOW’s members will be in the solar PV market. Initially the focus will be in southern Europe bordering the Mediterranean Sea, particularly Italy, followed by Asia, the US and North Africa.

Norwegian companies already have a presence in many of these regions. Statkraft recently started up its first solar park Casale, south of Rome, and signed an agreement to buy eight ready-to-build solar power projects in the Puglia region in southeast Italy. Statkraft’s goal is to develop 75 MW of solar power generating capacity by 2012, with a geographical focus on Italy, Spain and France, based on high solar radiation and established support schemes.

INTPOW has so far charted more than two dozen Norwegian companies within solar power. These include owners and power producers, such as Renewable Energy Corporation, Elkem Solar, Norsk Solkraft, and Scatec, as well as companies within energy field mapping, environmental impact assessment, engineering, fabrication, package supplies and constructors, R&D, training and consulting, CER compliance, marketing and trading, and investors and financing.

INTPOW currently comprises 24 members: Nexans Norway, Agder Energi, Det Norske Veritas, Wave Energy, Norconsult, Stiftelsen Offshore North Seas, BKK Produksjon, Statkraft, Navita Systems, Norsk Solkraft, Rainpower, Multiconsult, Norplan, GIEK, Jacobsen Elektro, Norges Varemesse NEREC, Hydroenergi, Sweco, Eksportfinans, Statoil, SN Power, Havgul Clean Energy, ABB and Teksal Hineco.

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