Statoil to continue investing in renewables

23 Aug 2010

Statoil says it will remain focused on developing renewables once the industry shows it is profitable.

Speaking today at a press conference in Stavanger, Statoil’s chief executive Helge Lund said the Norwegian company will stay committed to its renewable energy portfolio.

Lund was responding to an interview he did with the Norwegian newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad over the weekend where he appeared to suggest that Statoil would consider over the next three to four years about whether it would continue pursuing its clean energy agenda.

“If fossil fuel continues to dominate the global energy landscape for the next decades, we have to determine within the next three or four years whether we should continue to combine our oil and gas activities with renewable energy the way we do today, said Lund in Stavanger Aftenblad on 21 August.

Today, however, Lund was quick to clarify Statoil’s renewable energy commitments, telling reporters that the company was committed to developing renewables.

“But the industry has to show it is going to be profitable, he said.

“Over time, it has to develop into a profitable industry. This is the responsibility of any company,” he said. “Like any other activity, (renewables) have to be tested against profitability and other dimensions.

“We plan to develop and deliver on the positions we have taken. There’s no reason in my view to question our commitment to our strategy. It remains firm and has broad support in the management team and the board of directors.”

Floating wind farm

Statoil is also planning to commercialise the world’s first floating wind farm. The company met with Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond last week to discuss the potential for developing the windfarm at one of two possible Scottish sites – Lewis and Aberdeenshire. Statoil has already identified these two sites as being potential pilot parks for the commercial development of its Hywind floating turbine, which is currently being piloted off the Norwegian coast until 2011.

Commenting on last week’s meeting, Salmond said: “The Hywind II wind farm project would see a Scotland-Norway collaboration push the boundaries of deepwater offshore wind beyond the 100m mark and open up vast areas of the world’s oceans to the development of wind energy for the first time.

Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm

Statoil is currently building a 315MW offshore wind farm Sheringham Shoal off the UK’s Norfolk coast. The project is a joint venture with Statkraft, the Norwegian power utility. When it is up and running by 2011, it’s expected that this windfarm will generate enough electricity to power 220,000 homes in the UK.


Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic