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  • Sist oppdatert 05.07.2023

Haugalandet – the region where the opportunities lie

Marine Energy Test Centre, photo: Haugaland Vekst.


Norway possesses the inherent advantages necessary to emerge as a leading nation in the field of floating offshore wind. Its extensive coastline, stretching from Lindesnes in the south to Nordkapp in the north, is blessed with consistent and reliable wind resources. The varying wind patterns along the coast, with calmer winds in the north when strong gusts blow in the south and vice versa, further amplify the nation’s wind energy potential.

Among the offshore wind regions in Norway, Haugalandet and Sunnhordland naturally stand out as a central hub for the country’s offshore wind development. This region enjoys a unique geographical position along the North Sea basin, characterized by sheltered deep fjords that offer optimal conditions for the production and assembly of offshore wind turbines. Additionally, its close proximity to Utsira Nord, Norway’s inaugural floating offshore wind area located merely 7 km from Utsira Island, further solidifies its status.

The region boasts a highly competent and relevant supplier industry, shipyard industry, forward-thinking shipping and subsea industry, and an ambitious port company. The collective business community in the region exhibits a shared commitment to investing in the future. Furthermore, the Marine Energy Test Centre (METCentre), the world’s leading test center for floating offshore wind and renewable energy production at sea, along with Norwegian Offshore Wind, are located in this region. The Haugalandet region and Sunnhordland’s position as Norway’s premier offshore wind hubs have been confirmed by the Federation of Norwegian Industries’ report on delivery models for offshore wind.

Since 2007, the region has demonstrated a focused approach to the offshore wind segment. Several key industry players in the region currently hold prominent international positions within their respective fields.

Considering Norway’s strategic plans for offshore wind development and the region’s inherent advantages, the municipalities in the Haugalandet region harbor high ambitions for regional offshore wind initiatives. The recently adopted offshore wind strategy for Utsira Nord 2023-2030 sets the goal for the region to achieve the highest job growth in the country within the offshore wind sector.

The region boasts an exceptionally high workplace density in the supply industry for the petro-maritime sector, with a density nine times higher than the national average. The offshore wind development presents a unique potential and opportunity to transition workplaces towards sustainable practices. Leveraging existing experience and expertise, the development of Utsira Nord serves as a steppingstone to empower the supplier industry to cultivate expertise and sustainable competitive advantages in the international offshore wind market.

The Land of Opportunities

The Norwegian Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, recognizes the same potential and emphasizes that Norway’s success hinges on the successful offshore wind development in Western Norway. Today’s head of state has grasped what previous leaders also understood—the opportunities lie within this region.

In fact, one could argue that this understanding predates the birth of Christ. Simplifying the narrative, we trace it back to the Viking era, when these seafaring people recognized the possibilities presented by Haugalandet—the land of opportunity itself—over a thousand years ago.

At that time, there was no unified country known as Norway. Instead, this part of Scandinavia comprised numerous small kingdoms ruled by chieftains, princes, earls, and petty kings.

While the exact origins and development of the idea remain elusive, we can affirm that the innovative Vikings, in the late 7th century, laid the foundations for a revolution in business development and nation-building through a remarkable invention that harnessed the power of the wind. They adorned their ships with masts and sails.

With the development of these ships, known to most as Viking ships, they navigated the world far more efficiently than ever before. During their journeys, the Vikings brought back knowledge, political ideologies, military strategies, material resources, new techniques in craftsmanship and agriculture, and an entirely new religion—essential elements in the process of unifying Norway into a single kingdom.

What about King Harald Fairhair himself? Following the Battle of Hafrsfjord, a few nautical miles south along the coast, he recognized the immense opportunities presented by the Haugalandet region. It was there that he settled—specifically at Avaldsnes on Karmøy—and established his primary royal estate, thereby commencing the construction of the new nation.

Harald Fairhair and other Viking kings comprehended the potential held within the Haugesund region. This realization has echoed throughout history. Taking leaps through the centuries, we witness the entrepreneurial spirit and the power of innovation once again in the individuals who propelled the fisheries, shipbuilding industry, and shipping industry forward. They too recognized the abundant opportunities offered by the Haugalandet region and, through individual and collective efforts, ascended to become global leaders in their respective domains. This played a significant role in establishing Haugesund as Norway’s maritime capital.

Now, we witness history repeating itself in the Haugalandet region. The world’s first floating offshore wind turbine was erected here on the western side of Karmøy, a short distance from Harald Fairhair’s royal estate at Avaldsnes. It was also in this region that the technology giant Google chose to test its wind turbines. The surrounding environment, encompassing the test center west of Karmøy—the Marine Energy Test Centre (METCentre)—is now recognized as a world-leading research center for floating offshore wind.

The Viking kings understood it. Google understood it. The opportunities lie here, where ideas are conceived, nurtured, and transformed into reality. The Haugalandet region is undeniably the land of opportunity.

As political leaders in the ten municipalities of the Haugalandet region, we stand united in our commitment to facilitating collaborative efforts for actors interested in establishing businesses related to offshore wind development in the North Sea basin. The region boasts a long-standing tradition of close cooperation and joint ventures that transcend political divisions. We strive to provide a stable and supportive framework for a business community with generations of experience in international cooperation.


The Mayors of the Haugaland region

Karmøy, Haugesund, Tysvær, Vindafjord, Bokn, Utsira, Etne, Sauda, Suldal and Sveio


How Norway will succeed in becoming leading within offshore wind

The Norwegian government has an ambition of awarding 30 GW to offshore wind by 2040, almost doubling the capacity of the current power production. These are good ambitions, which must be followed up with a significant allocation in 2025, and annual allocations after that. This ensures predictability for developers, the supply chain and for financing.

Power demand and green industry
Will all this power be needed? Norway has a power consumption of around 140 TWh per year today. In its latest power market analysis, Statnett, the system operator of the Norwegian power system, has estimated a future power demand towards 2050, with various scenarios. In the base scenario, consumption increases to 220 TWh in 2050, where a large part of this must come from offshore wind. With the development of competitive floating offshore wind as a central driver for much higher consumption growth from new green industry on land, Statnett outlines a scenario with high and very high consumption growth from 260 to 300 TWh per year in 2050.

State funding in the initial phase – an investment
How can we ensure that we develop a competitive floating offshore wind industry? The first areas, Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II, have been announced with two-way contracts for difference as a guarantee for financing the projects, so that the farms are guaranteed a minimum price at the same time that the authorities will make a profit at a high energy price. The logic behind such a guarantee for the first projects is not only to gain access to new power, but to invest in an industry that can scale, develop the technology, reduce costs and take market shares internationally.

Home market and technology transfer from oil and gas
Offshore wind power is a global industry, and represents enormous opportunities for the export of products and services for Norwegian suppliers. If Norway is to establish a broad supplier industry within offshore wind, a domestic market with a number of larger projects is essential for the suppliers to acquire references and strengthen their competitiveness internationally as well. There is great potential for the transfer of technology expertise from the oil and gas industry and related supplier industries. This also requires investment in the development of ports and infrastructure for fabrication and assembly.

In order to be able to take leading positions by being early in the development of floating offshore wind, speed and stability is not only required in calls for proposals, but also in licensing processes and case management. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE) have received extra funds in this year’s state budget to strengthen their case-handling capacity. This must be followed up further. In addition, it is important to put in place an effective system for the licensing process, as NVE has done in connection with its recent work to identify 20 new areas with a low level of conflict that may be suitable for development.

The first projects will need support, and it is natural that the question of cost will become a topic in the public debate. NVE has estimated that the costs of floating offshore wind could fall from 117 øre per kilowatt hour now, to 68 øre in 2030. All future Norwegian developments must aim to develop power at the lowest possible price. The electrification of the petroleum industry through offshore wind cannot be excluded from such a strategy. That would be to throw away a large part of the advantages that Norwegian players must secure, the training basis for being able to position themselves as the best and cheapest renewable power producers out in the deep sea.

Coexistence and social acceptance
If we are to succeed in developing a large, Norwegian offshore wind investment at home, where we also export technology and expertise, we must develop work class reference projects. We need projects that show the most positive ripple effects for local communities and the least possible negative consequences for the environment.

The advent of large-scale energy production significantly affects local communities, necessitating the establishment of a strong local presence and the creation of new jobs. These factors are instrumental in fostering local enthusiasm and acceptance towards emerging developments. In order to achieve success on both a project-specific level and for the broader offshore wind industry, it is imperative to cultivate responsible coexistence with other industries and prioritize the preservation of nature and the environment.

Haugalandet will host the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, Utsira Nord, and thus become a pilot region for the development of floating offshore wind in Norway. Utsira municipality – Norway’s smallest municipality in terms of population, with just 200 inhabitants – will be Norway’s first host municipality for floating offshore wind. The municipality consists of 99.3% marine resources, and approx. 60% (530 km2) of these will be directly affected by the development of Utsira Nord, which will be only 7 km from the island community. To ensure the compensation for disadvantages, it is crucial to establish a sustainable and permanent income that actively contributes to the economic, social, and environmental development of local communities.

Drone photo: Erik Hørluck Berg, Utsira Municipality

If Western Norway succeeds, Norway will succeed
Development of offshore wind projects along the coast and Utsira Nord in particular, will be of great importance to the existing supplier industry in the region, which has leading technical and operational offshore expertise that we must build on. The employment effect of a development will be an important contribution to transitioning a region with a concentrated business structure within oil and gas.

A natural center for offshore wind

Illustration: Haugaland Vekst / PYX

Haugalandet and Sunnhordland are centrally located in Western Norway, between Bergen and Stavanger, and with a short distance to Europe. The region has a unique location facing the North Sea basin with the offshore wind field Utsira Nord as the nearest neighbour to the west and a short distance to all relevant development areas in the North Sea and Europe. The region’s natural conditions make Haugalandet and Sunnhordland a natural centre for the Norwegian offshore wind ambitions.

The region has locations with nature-given prerequisites for the production of foundations and assembly of offshore wind turbines, a competent and relevant supplier industry, good access to renewable energy, a forward-looking maritime industry and a port, Karmsund Port Authority, with ambitions to become the most important infrastructure provider for floating offshore wind in the North Sea basin.

Business in this region is diverse, with large industrial environments such as Aibel Haugesund, Aker Solutions Stord, Westcon in Ølen, Kårstø Process Plant (Equinor/Gassco), Hydro Aluminum Karmøy and Eramet Sauda. But there are also highly competent small and large subcontractors for industry, the marine industries and the oil- and gas sector.

Haugalandet and Sunnhordland have a maritime cluster with several large shipping companies that are renowned on an international scale. There has also been an influx of new exciting businesses within marine industries, as well as in professional environments within electronics, gas and computer technology, among others. The region has an innovation environment that makes the region a leader in industrial innovation.

The region is known for being able to mobilize, be nimble-footed and quick to turn around when the situation calls for it. And there is a short distance and close and good cooperation between business, public authorities, and academia.

Geographic proximity

Norway’s first floating offshore wind farm – Utsira Nord – is located just a few nautical miles west of Haugalandet. The distance to other offshore wind farms in the North Sea or Europe is also favourable. This is a clear advantage for the region, because the towing of offshore wind installations entails large costs. Further, the geographical proximity contributes to Haugalandet and Sunnhordland being good starting points for the operation and maintenance of several offshore wind farms, as well as the production of foundations and assembly of turbines.

Illustration: Haugaland Vekst / PYX
Well-suited business structure

The region has a solid competence base for supplying the offshore wind industry, with many businesses that are suppliers to the oil and gas sector and industrial enterprises. The maritime industry has long traditions and, together with the subsea industry, is very strong in Haugalandet and in Sunnhordland. It is not without reason that the regional centre Haugesund has established itself as Norway’s maritime capital. The maritime industries and the subsea industry will play a central role in all phases of offshore wind projects.

The region’s industry structure shows that production of oil platforms is eight times higher than the average for Norway. These are companies that easily transition to floating offshore wind and have largely already done so. A company that represents the transition to the green shift is Aibel, which has 50% of the order reserve linked to the renewables segment, notably floating offshore wind and electrification of the Norwegian continental shelf. Deliveries of HVDC converter platforms to Hornsea 3, Dogger Bank and Dolwin are examples of what Aibel is working on. Østensjø Rederi with Edda Wind is another example. At large, industry, electricity production and oil and gas are very important industries in the region. The total turnover in the regional maritime cluster was NOK 57.53 billion in 2022, an increase of 14.2 % from 2021. For 2023, the industry estimates that more than 10 % of the share of the turnover is aimed at offshore wind.

As much as 40 % of the value creation and close to 16 % of the jobs in the region are linked to the maritime industries. The region’s desire to invest reflects this.

Knutsen O.A.S. Shipping is currently building a total of 22 new, large LNG tankers. Edda Wind is building nine special vessels for offshore wind and will have 14 special vessels in operation when the current construction programme ends. In total, the local building programme amounts to investments of close to NOK 50 billion. Half of the country’s new construction programme originates from Haugesund.

Photo: Aibel / Øyvind Sætre

A hub with good and efficient infrastructure

Good and efficient infrastructure is important for attracting and serving new inhabitants and absolutely essential for maintaining a competitive business life. Haugalandet and Sunnhordland have a very central location in Western Norway, between Bergen and Stavanger. When the fjord crossing projects Rogfast and Hordfast are completed, the region will further strengthen itself as a strategic hub for one of the country’s largest and most important working regions with over a million people.

Haugalandet and Sunnhordland is a logistics hub with Karmsund Port Authority at the forefront. The regional port company is among Europe’s most forward-looking and ambitious port authorities. With planned reinforcements of the electricity grid for the region and bringing electricity production from Utsira Nord onshore, the region will also have ample access to green energy in the future. At the same time, Haugalandet and Sunnhordland will strengthen their position as one of the leading regions in energy production and as hosts of socially critical infrastructure.

Central parts of the infrastructure linked to the power grid will be located in Haugaland Business Park, which with its 5,000 acres is Norway’s largest readily regulated industry park for new green industries.

Haugalandet and Sunnhordland also have several areas that are ready or to be developed for the production and assembly of both floating and fixed offshore wind turbines. The region has several fjord basins that are particularly well suited for this type of production, while at the same time there is a short distance to the development areas both along the Norwegian coast and to the rest of Europe.

The region has an international airport that provides easy access to Europe and the rest of the world. The airport is important for the internationally oriented businesses, as well as tourism.

Central regional infrastructure companies

Karmsund Port Authority
Karmsund Port Authority is in the process of developing significant port infrastructure with focus on offshore wind, at the seafront with ample hinterland area immediate adjacent and located in the largest industrial cluster in Western Norway with 60 years’ experience in servicing offshore industry. Karmsund Port Authority is located in the Haugesund region.

With a total area of ​​600,000 m2 developed today and a target of 1.5 million m2 developed by 2032, Karmsund Port Authority is a unique port in the northern part of Europe with a firm plan founded on experience and capability to execute large offshore wind projects in the near future.

At the core of Karmsund Ports strategies and plans is environmental protection leadership, demonstrated throughout the organisation and its investment philosophy.

Haugesund Cargo Terminal is one of the largest trafficked cargo ports in Western Norway. The cargo terminal is already one of the most important hubs in the country. Together with two new sites, Karmsund Port Authority can offer the infrastructure required for offshore wind:

  • Logistics of components
  • Marshalling and mooring
  • Turbine assembly
  • O&M

Making Karmsund Port Authority’s location a complete offering for the logistics of offshore wind in the northern part of Europe.

Intelliport is Karmsund Port Authority’s concept for increased efficiency, new technology and sustainability. Karmsund Port Authority is focusing on systemising and intensifying its environmental work and increasing its investment in efficiency and new technologies. The port is now taking Intelliport to the next level with Intelliport 2.0. Automation, IOT, autonomy, renewable and alternative energy sources and zero-emission fuels are examples of projects that are mapped in this phase. The port is associated with universities and a business community with significant training and apprenticeship development expertise.


Karmsund Port Authority, Tore Gautesen, CEO, and Tommy Sandtorv, CCO. Photo: Grethe Nygaard.

Haugaland Industry Park

Haugaland Business Park is Norway’s largest readily regulated industry park of 5,000 acres for new green industry. The industry park is a collaborative project between the five owner municipalities: Karmøy, Haugesund, Tysvær, Vindafjord and Bokn. Haugaland Business Park welcomes new industry for increased value creation. Value in the form of new establishments and jobs, but also added value for established companies and value chains in the region.

The industry park is located at Gismarvik in Tysvær municipality, right in the heartland of an industrially strong region with a short distance to key players such as Kårstø processing plant for natural gas, Hydro aluminum on Karmøy and Aibel in Haugesund.

The industry park has been fully regulated and the last few years have been spent on getting the physical infrastructure in place. For example, fibre, roads and treatment plants, as well as increased water supply. The park has established its own harbour with a deep-water quay. The port is in continuous development, and it is located close to Karmsund Port Authority.

Photo: Haugaland Industry Park

Today, Haugaland Business Park can offer readily regulated industrial plots, efficient logistics and sufficient clean energy from a number of renewable sources. Statnett will establish a new 420kV substation in the industry park, and further reinforcements in the network will provide particularly good power access to industrial establishments. The station is highly relevant for bringing offshore wind ashore from Utsira Nord. There are currently three wind turbines in the park and there are agreements to establish a solar park.

For the offshore wind industry, Haugaland Business Park is relevant as a location for production companies, and not least for project storage on land, logistics and base services.

Ample access to renewable power is essential for power- and area-intensive industry. Electricity from, among other things, Utsira Nord, combined with planned infrastructure for carbon management, makes Haugaland Business Park a very attractive location for the green industrial establishments of the future.

Optimal locations for fabrication and assembly

Haugalandet and Sunnhordland have unique prerequisites for becoming a region for the production and assembly of both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind turbines. The region has several fjord basins which are well sheltered from the weather and wind, and which have sufficient depth for installations to be transported to or from. The region also has an established shipbuilding industry that has both the expertise and resources to contribute to the large-scale production of foundations and the joining of offshore wind turbines.

Floating wind turbines require different solutions for production than fixed-bottom wind turbines. Among other things, large areas and adaptations are required to develop a competitive industry and ensure that floating offshore wind achieves similar cost reductions as we have seen for fixed installations.

The municipalities in Haugalandet, together with inter-municipal area and infrastructure companies, are in continuous dialogue about relevant areas near the sea that may be relevant for offshore wind developments.

WindWorks Jelsa

Among the locations that are relevant is WindWorks Jelsa in Suldal municipality. WindWorks Jelsa is working on transforming parts of Europe’s largest stone quarry operated by Norsk Stein into a site for serial production of concrete foundations and assembly of floating wind turbines. According to the plan, the facility will be ready to produce foundations for the development of Utsira Nord.

Illustration: WindWorks Jelsa

Dommersnes Assembly Site, Windafjord Port 

At the Dommersnes Assembly Site in Vindafjord municipality, the foundations for Hywind Tampen have been poured. The work consisted of slip casting 11 foundations, before they were transported further north to Gulen for assembly. The local company Westcon – with shipyards in both Haugalandet, Florø and Helgeland – has more than 40 years’ experience as a total supplier in the offshore, energy and maritime industries. The company now has plans ready to develop the entire industrial area of 550 acres in order to be able to use it to configure and assemble offshore wind turbines.

Jørgen Jorde, Manager Green & Sustainable Technology at Westcon, and project lead for Dommersnes Assembly Site, Windafjord. Photo: Grethe Nygaard

Both WindWorks Jelsa and Dommersnes Assembly Site have deep-water access in sheltered waters and with low tidal variations and will be able to offer the assembly of complete wind turbines, ready for towing to offshore wind farms throughout Europe.

Abundant access to renewable energy

Haugalandet and Sunnhordland is a region with strong consumption growth and concrete plans for further industrialization and electrification. Statnett, in its area plan for the Bergen area and Haugalandet, has therefore provided for increased consumption of 675 MW and 575 MW, respectively. This will amount to roughly a doubling of existing industrial consumption.

Several projects have already been initiated to upgrade and strengthen the grid. In addition to Statnett, which is responsible for the Norwegian transmission grid, the regional grid company Fagne has both ambitions and plans for further development of the regional and distribution grid to facilitate new industry.

Pablo Barrera Lopez, CEO Haugaland Kraft, the regional renewable energy company. Fagne. Photo: Grethe Nygaard.

But what will give a real boost in capacity is the construction of a new 420 kV line from the Blåfalli power plants in Kvinnherad municipality and to a new transformer station in Haugaland Industry Park in Gismarvik. This development will open for approx. 500 MW new consumption.

Statnett submitted a license application for the project back in 2020. The Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE) delivered a recommendation to the Ministry of Oil and Energy to give Statnett permission to carry out the project in February 2023. The development is expected to be completed in 2027.

There are clear signals that the power from Utsira Nord is to be brought ashore on Haugalandet. Statnett believes that this is beneficial, and that the existing network, with minor reinforcements, will have the capacity to handle 1,500 MW. This will further strengthen Haugalandet and Sunnhordland as a region where critical infrastructure has been laid in place for the development of new green industry.

One of the principles in the Norwegian offshore wind commitment is that the development of offshore wind must contribute to industrial development onshore. In the government’s road map for green industry, called The green industrial initiative, a direction for a green industrial offensive is set out, where seven areas of focus are pointed out: offshore wind, batteries, hydrogen, CO2 management, process industry, maritime industry, and the forest- and wood industry and bioeconomy.

All the seven elements of the green industrial initiative will take place in Haugalandet. The common denominator for several of these points is the need for power. The bringing ashore of the power from Utsira Nord to Haugalandet, together with upgrading the grid, will contribute to new industrial development, and therefore have great national importance.

Willingness to transition and take action – the history

170 years of transition in the shipping industry

They say that Haugesund is built on herringbones, and it is the herring fishing industry that emerged approximately 170 years ago that laid the foundation for Haugesund’s current status as Norway’s maritime capital.

It all began with sailing ships, transporting herring to salteries and exporters along the nearby coastal areas. As time passed, steamships took over, traversing the seven seas. Eventually, motor ships, liners, and oil tankers dominated the scene, before the advent of the significant offshore revolution. The shipping companies in Haugalandet and Sunnhordland seized the opportunities that arose and adapted once again.

Today, the local industry finds itself amidst a new transformation: offshore wind. This opportunity has emerged right outside the windows of every resident in Haugaland and Sunnhordland. The shipping companies still maintain a global perspective. This is exemplified by Knutsen O.A.S. Shipping, which established LNG tanks as a major shipping area since the early 2000s. Similarly, Edda Wind in Haugesund is engaged in an extensive construction program, focusing on specialized vessels for offshore wind projects.

Technological advancements have always been a priority. Just as the transition from sail to steam was a challenge before the First World War and the shift from steam to engine took place during the interwar period, the current focus is on transitioning to zero-emission technologies and exploring new markets like offshore wind. The region has witnessed the birth of numerous pioneering projects, yet the pursuit of continuous improvement persists. But why?

The industries in Haugalandet and Sunnhordland have learned from their long history that change is a constant factor. Technology and market dynamics evolve, and the region’s businesses have consistently adapted to stay ahead of the curve.

Sverre Meling, General Manager Maritimt Forum Haugalandet and Sunnhordland, Photo: Grethe Nygaard.

1874: From Herring Fishing to Global Shipping

The significance of herring fishing cannot be overstated when considering the rise of shipping companies and maritime trade. However, the liberalization of world trade in the 1840s played an equally crucial role in shaping the industry. The 19th century witnessed a tremendous growth in global trade, both before and after liberalization, resulting in a heightened demand for shipping services.

Between 1870 and 1874, both Haugesund and Skudeneshavn made a significant leap from operating primarily within short-sea shipping to engaging in global maritime trade on the seven seas.

1872: Transition from Sailing Ships to Steamships

In 1872, Haugesund welcomed its first steamship, marking a new era in maritime transportation. However, the true breakthrough came in 1888 when 22 steamships were acquired for Haugesund. While mostly older vessels, they were utilized in the herring trade. Steamships offered the advantage of speed and regularity, enabling Haugesund to successfully transition from sailing ships. Consequently, the city emerged as one of Norway’s leading shipping hubs just before the outbreak of the First World War.

1920: The First World War

The period during and immediately after the First World War witnessed a remarkable boom for Norwegian shipping, including the fleet based in Haugesund. Freight rates and ship values soared, leading to substantial investments—some might even say speculation—in Haugesund. By the autumn of 1920, bulk carriers accounted for 11.6% of the total gross shipping revenue of all Norwegian shipping companies, compared to a target figure of 4.5% in 1914. In fact, the average income per resident in Haugesund was the highest in Norway during that year. However, the subsequent crisis hit Haugesund hard, causing significant economic repercussions. Nonetheless, there were glimmers of hope amidst the difficulties.

1940: Motorized Liner and Oil Tanker Shipping

The interwar years witnessed the emergence of liner shipping as a Norwegian specialty. In Haugesund, Knut Knutsen O.A.S. Shipping became a prominent liner shipping company while also expanding into the oil tanker market in collaboration with H.M. Wrangell & Co. This venture earned them national and international renown. Simultaneously, forward-thinking shipping companies in Haugesund began investing in motor ships. Motor ships offered advantages over steamships, such as greater speed, increased cargo capacity, and reduced crew requirements.

1945: Reconstruction and the Post-War Period

During the Second World War, 90% of the Haugesund fleet was enlisted by Nortraship, and a significant portion of the fleet was lost. In the post-war reconstruction years, shipping companies faced fierce competition for currency allocation, which was needed to renew and rebuild the fleet, as they contended with other pressing priorities.

After the Second World War, new markets and technologies did not emerge to the same extent as they had after the First World War. Haugesund shipowners focused on liner and oil tanker shipping, alongside short-haul operations, while motor ships remained at the forefront of modern and progressive technology. The major change came with the Arab states’ attack on Israel on October 6, 1973. This conflict caused the shipping index to plummet due to the Arab oil boycott against Western countries and a subsequent surge in oil prices. Many shipping companies in Haugesund faced severe challenges and ultimately went out of business.

1975: The Offshore Revolution

In the latter half of the 1970s and the early 1980s, shipping companies returned to the North Sea and coastal waters, driven by the discovery of offshore oil—the black gold of the sea. This development provided a lifeline for the industry. Alongside venerable companies like Knut Knutsen O.A.S., which transformed into a flexible cargo shipping company under new ownership, offshore shipping firms emerged as the protagonists of a new era. These companies expanded their operations globally, venturing into the seven oceans, including the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Malaysia, the Mediterranean, and Australia. At the same time, exciting developments unfolded within short-haul shipping.

Building a new industrial adventure on the offshore expertise

With Norway’s extensive maritime heritage and the transformative offshore revolution, the country has gained a reputation for being highly innovative and future-oriented, providing a competitive advantage to its ocean industries.

Being a region deeply influenced by the offshore revolution, it has played a crucial role in shaping societal and business advancements. The region has successfully addressed challenges and introduced groundbreaking technologies, drawing upon the invaluable expertise and experience gained from the oil and gas sectors. Many of the solutions employed in floating offshore wind can be traced back to innovations in the oil and gas industry.

2009 Hywind Demo (Unitech Zefyros)

The world’s first floating offshore wind turbine, Hywind of 2.3 MW, was installed 10 km west of Skudeneshavn in Karmøy municipality in 2009. In the first year of operation, it delivered 7.3 GWh against the expected 3.5 GWh. The original owner was Statoil, now Equinor, who sold it to Unitech in 2019. The turbine is the starting point for the establishment of METCentre.

The successful demonstration project paved way for the world’s first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, Hywind Scotland.

2015- HVDC-platforms for offshore wind parks

Aibel is an excellent example of a business that brings its oil and gas expertise into the offshore wind industry. Whilst the oil and gas industry segment will remain Aibel’s core market for many years to come, they are developing solutions for the renewable energy sector, thus adapting their core competence to a low carbon future.

Having delivered on DolWin Beta, one of the largest wind power converter stations offshore, already in 2015, Aibel has kept its order reserves filled with HVDC-platforms.

DolWin Beta was followed by the involvement in Equinor’s Hywind Scotland floating wind power project, from design of the floating wind turbine substructures through to installation and commissioning support.

The sailaway to Doggerbank for Doggerbank A, took place recently. Now, Aibel is waiting to receive several HVDC platforms in the years to come; DolWin 5 (2024), Doggerbank B (2024), Doggerbank C (2025), and Hornsea 3 Link 1 and 2 (2025).

-2023 Hywind Tampen

The Hywind Tampen project consists of 11 turbines with a total capacity of 95 megawatts. Hywind Tampen will be the world’s first floating wind farm that will supply offshore oil and gas installations with renewable energy when it is completed, when the offshore wind farm is fully operational in late summer 2023.

When the entire offshore wind farm is put into operation, Equinor will operate almost half of the world’s total capacity in floating offshore wind.

The construction of the 11 concrete holes starts at Aker Solutions drydock at Stord, in Sunnhordland, and the construction was completed at Dommersnes in Vindafjord. The turbines were installed in Gulen, a bit further north.

Hywind Tampen will be a test bed for the further development of floating offshore wind.

Hywind Tampen at Dommersnes. Foto: Johnny Engelsvoll/Equinor

Utsira Nord, 2030 -

Right outside the coast of Haugalandet, only 7 km from Utsira island, Norway’s next floating offshore wind adventure will be built, with a size to drive industrialization of floating offshore wind and create new opportunities for the offshore industry. Arrangements are now being made to grant licences for the development of 1500 MW of offshore capacity.

The Norwegian government announced the first competitions for offshore wind areas in March 2023. The application deadline for Utsira Nord is 1st of September 2023. Licences will be awarded according to qualitative criteria.

Announces the first competitions for offshore wind –

Central regional actors within the offshore wind industry

There is a wide variety of shipping companies, yards, suppliers, etc., in the Haugalandet region, hence you will find a diverse range of reputable and experienced maritime service providers. These companies offer comprehensive transportation and logistics solutions to cater to various industry needs, as well as competence. Among them, several are industry leaders in the offshore wind sector, offering specialized solutions for the growing renewable energy industry.

In this section, we will provide a brief introduction to some of the actors within offshore wind industry on the Haugalandet region. The list is not exhaustive.

Overview of yards, shipping companies, suppliers and various service providers in the Haugalandet and Sunnhordland region. Illustration: Maritimt Forum Haugalandet and Sunnhordland.

Shipping companies

Edda Wind

Edda Wind is the only pure-play operator in the offshore wind industry.

The company is a provider of purpose-built Service Operation Vessels (SOV) and Commissioning Service Operation vessels (CSOV) to the global offshore wind market since 2015. The vessels accommodate wind turbine technicians and provide services during the commissioning and operation of offshore wind farms.

Edda Wind owns and operates four vessels and operates one chartered frontrunner for a long-term contract. When the current newbuild program is completed with two SOVs and four CSOVs, Edda Wind will enhance its position, boosting a fleet of 14 vessels, of which two vessels are currently in operation, five more expected to commence operation in 2023.

All vessels are managed by Østensjø Rederi AS. This makes the company the world’s largest in its segment.

SOV Edda Passat. Photo: Lukasz Bis

Østensjø Rederi AS

Østensjø Rederi AS provide high quality accommodation, offshore and towage services worldwide.

Since the establishment in 1974, the company has been a leading provider of offshore- and towage services worldwide. It operates a fleet of 34 modern vessels, including tugs/mooring vessels, offshore service vessels, including SOV’s operating in the renewable market, and accommodation vessels. The Østensjø group also delivers crew services to the shipping industry.

Østensjø’s headquarters are in Haugesund, with regional offices in the UK, Poland, and Malta.

The shipping company focus on its people, fleet, pioneering of new technologies to make its vessels safer, greener and more efficient. This has resulted in Østensjø being the first to introduce many technologically innovative solutions.

Knutsen OAS

The Knutsen Group consists of six fully integrated shipping companies, and the headquarter is in Haugesund.

Knutsen is the largest shuttle tanker operator in the world, and among the greatest operators of LNG carriers. They provide full in-house shipping management including technical and commercial operation, chartering, as well as building supervision, conversion, and project development.

The company’s strong focus on technology development has resulted in its own proprietary technology for VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) reduction during tanker loading, Knutsen KVOC® Technology. Knutsen has also developed new technology for ballast water treatment, KBAL® system.

Knutsen is world leading as technology developer and provider within marine transportation of compressed natural gas with its proprietary Knutsen PNG® Technology. 

Solstad Offshore

Solstad Offshore is a large and capable offshore shipping company with around 80 modern ships and 3 400 employees, in 9 locations worldwide. The headquarter is in Skudeneshavn, Karmøy.

Solstad is a part of the Windstaller Alliance who is combining the expertise of three offshore industry leaders (Solstad, Aker Solutions and Deep Ocean) to deliver an integrated and highly flexible offering of products, fabrication services, subsea services, marine operations and related engineering services for offshore renewables. They are also part of Remota, together with Østensjø and DeepOcean, which offers remote operations and semi-autonomous maritime services to the offshore and marine industries.

Eidesvik Offshore

Eidesvik Offshore ASA owns and operates a world-wide fleet of purpose-built vessels, providing services to the offshore supply, subsea, offshore wind, and seismic markets.

For decades Eidesvik has had a clear vision of using as little fossil fuel as possible to minimise their emissions – resulting in a strong reputation as a pioneer in implementing new environmental technologies in both newbuilds and existing fleet.

Eidesvik’s headquarters is located at Bømlo, between the cities of Haugesund and Bergen.

Providers of Subsea Services

Companies in Haugalandet and Sunnhordland have extensive experience in delivering offshore and subsea services for the oil and gas industry. These types of services will be equally important for the emerging offshore wind industry. Several companies originating from and headquartered in the region are already well-positioned and among the world leaders in this field.

These companies are known and respected for their world-class engineering expertise and state-of-the-art solutions for deepwater operations, utilizing advanced remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) extensively.

DeepOcean was established in Haugesund in 1999 and has branches in the UK, France, Ghana, the USA, and Mexico, in addition to Norway. The group has approximately 1,000 employees, with 300 located in Haugesund. The company is a global leading provider of services to the maritime industries.

In addition to the oil and gas sector, the company also serves the offshore wind, floating solar power plants, and other new marine energy technologies. They offer services in the installation of inter-array cables, interconnectors, and export cables for fixed and floating wind turbines. They provide services in trenching, inspection, maintenance, and repairs of cables and other subsea infrastructure, as well as a comprehensive range of hydrographic surveys and bathymetry services for the offshore wind industry.

Like other maritime service providers in Haugalandet and Sunnhordland, DeepOcean is at the forefront of developing and testing new technologies, including unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and advanced remote operation centers onshore, through its subsidiary Remota.

Reach Subsea was established in 2008 and is also a leading provider of subsea services. The company offers various solutions, including geophysical, geotechnical, and environmental services for site investigations, pipeline and cable routes, seabed mapping, and pipeline inspections. The company also provides engineering services and has a wide range of state-of-the-art ROVs. They are currently building two highly advanced all-electric work and inspection ROVs to be used on board two remotely operated vessels that will be delivered in 2023. The ROVs are designed to operate for 30 days without supervision and can operate at depths of up to 2,000 meters.

Reach Subsea has a dedicated program called Reach Remote, in partnership with Kongsberg Maritime AS and Massterly AS, with the ambition of building 10 remotely operated vessels by 2025. These remotely operated vessels, known as USVs, will operate from the sea surface and serve as mobile power sources, data sources, and communication centers for the ROVs. All operations will be controlled from onshore.

Saga Subsea was founded in 2011 and has locations in Cyprus, Gran Canaria, and Norway, with its headquarters located in Haugesund. Saga Subsea provides a variety of services, including offshore vessel mobilization support, human resource solutions, vessel agency and broker services, rental of subsea equipment for offshore industries, observational-class ROV management, ROV equipment for offshore operations, and subsea maintenance and repair services.

The company behind the development of Reach Subsea’s ROVs is KYSTDESIGN. The business was established in the late 1990s and is currently located in Tysvær, 10 minutes from Haugesund. They have offices, workshops, training facilities, and the largest test tank for underwater vehicles in Northern Europe.

KYSTDESIGN provides a wide range of products to various industries, such as oil and gas, fish farming, marine industries, marine research, and search and rescue services.

The company has internal multidisciplinary engineering teams with specialists in mechanical design, hydraulic systems, electronics, and software development. This, combined with extensive offshore experience, positions KYSTDESIGN as a world leader in complex systems such as remotely operated underwater vehicles and remotely operated tools (ROVs and ROTs).

Imenco was established in 1979 as an engineering company and was for the first 20 years engaged in a variety of subsea projects. The headquarter is in Tysvær.

Imenco is now a group of companies working mainly in five main business area: Offshore oil and gas, offshore renewables, aquaculture, marine and naval industrial. Imenco has a leading position within subsea camera-, light-, laser- and electronics- technologies, subsea and topside lifting and handling solutions, CCTV systems and underwater acoustic communication and positioning systems.

Suppliers within maritime solutions and training

SEAM AS is a leading supplier and developer of zero-emission solutions for the maritime sector. SEAM has roots dating back to 1988. Today, Longship Fund II holds the ownership.

The company provides complete systems and self-developed products such as integrated control and automation systems, EMS/PMS, propulsion control, electric motors, transformers, and bridge solutions. The products can be used for both new builds and retrofitting of existing vessels.

The company offers fully electric propulsion systems, systems powered by hydrogen, and hybrid systems.

So far, SEAM’s systems have contributed to emissions reductions in 67 vessels.

Wärtsilä is a large international corporation and a global market leader in providing complete lifecycle solutions for power supply in the marine and energy markets. Approximately one in three vessels sailing the world’s oceans has Wärtsilä solutions on board.

The group has several companies in Norway, including Wärtsilä Norway centrally located in Sunnhordland. The Norwegian operations’ main activities involve the development and sale of propulsion systems, electrical and automation systems, and navigation systems for ships and offshore installations to customers worldwide. The companies also offer a range of service solutions to Norwegian customers operating vessels and drilling rigs in Norwegian waters or abroad.

The simulator company Simsea AS was established in 2010 as a continuation of the Haugesund Simulator Center. The company’s owners are among the largest players in the maritime offshore industry, providing the center with almost unlimited access to operational expertise.

Simsea’s training programs are developed by their own teams consisting of experienced seafarers and other relevant experts. The simulators feature models of real ships and equipment used daily on board. Participants experience weather, wind, and rough seas. The only thing missing is the sea air. All offshore simulators are integrated and can be used for complex maritime operations.

Haakonsen Marine AS was established in 1996 and is a Norwegian based company that provide services to oil & gas and renewable energy industries. The company has over the years built up a wide experience within marine operations. The headquarter is in Skudeneshavn, Karmøy with offices in Stavanger and Ghana.

Haakonsen Marine As has long experience in the oil and gas industry, maritime industry, renewable industry, onshore and offshore industry, construction services, shipyard industry and more.

The shipyard industry


Aibel’s history dates all the way back to 1882. The company started as a traditional shipyard in Haugesund in 1900 but has proven to be a highly adaptable supplier of installations and other critical infrastructure to both the offshore-related and onshore energy sectors throughout history. With over 4,700 employees, Aibel operates offices in Norway, Thailand, and Singapore. Additionally, Aibel owns two modern shipyards in Haugesund and Laem Chabang, Thailand, both with significant prefabrication and construction capabilities.

Aibel’s business is divided into three units: Modifications and Yard Services, Field Development, and Offshore Wind. In 2015, Aibel delivered its first converter platform for offshore wind, DolWin beta, which was installed in the German sector. In 2019, Aibel took another important step into the offshore wind industry when the company, together with partner Keppel FELS, was awarded another offshore wind contract for the converter platform of the Dolwin 5 project. The project also includes an onshore converter station.

In 2020, Aibel achieved a major breakthrough as a key supplier to the offshore wind industry. The company was awarded EPC contracts for three converter platforms for the world’s largest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank.

A confirmation of the company’s position in the market came in 2022 when Danish Ørsted awarded Aibel a contract for two converter platforms for the Hornsea 3 project in the British sector of the North Sea. With this award, the company solidifies its position as a leading supplier of HVDC solutions in the European offshore wind segment. At the same time, the large order increased Aibel’s share of green projects in its order book to over 50 percent.

Photo: Aibel/Birger Hovland/Haugesund Luftfoto AS

Aker Solutions Stord

The Aker Group has a history dating back 180 years to the establishment of a small workshop near Akerselva in Oslo. Today, the group has approximately 15,000 employees spread across over 50 locations in more than 20 countries.

Aker Solutions in Stord, Sunnhordland, is a central shipyard for the group and has decades of experience in designing, delivering, and operating semi-submersible drilling and production platforms. The company’s floating designs are known for enabling energy production in the world’s most challenging offshore environments.

Aker Solutions Stord traditionally focused its production on the oil and gas sector but has also made significant deliveries to the offshore wind industry in recent years. The company provides both fixed and floating wind turbine foundations, including jacket structures, gravity-based structures (GBS) in concrete or steel, floating substructures in concrete or steel, and converter platforms.

Aker Solutions’ shipyard in Stord was involved in building the floating concrete hulls for Hywind Tampen. The first 20 meters of the structures were constructed at the Stord shipyard, while the casting of the remaining 107.5-meter-high structures was performed at Dommersnes in Vindafjord.

Photo: Aker Solutions Stord


Aibel and Aker Solutions are giants in the Norwegian and European context. Family-owned Westcon Group, headquartered in Ølen in Vindafjord, may not have the same long history but has still positioned itself as one of the leading total providers of solutions, products, and services in the offshore, energy, and maritime industries over its 40 years of existence.

The group has grown significantly since its inception in Ølen and operates shipyards in Florø, Karmøy, and Helgeland. The group offers a wide range of services through its six companies: Westcon Yards, Westcon Løfteteknikk, Westcon Geo, Westcon Design, and Inspectio.

Like many others, Westcon has invested significant resources in positioning itself in the rapidly growing offshore wind industry in recent years. For instance, the company has plans to develop and expand a 550-acre area at Dommersnes Industripark (where the foundations for Hywind Tampen were built) to configure and assemble offshore wind turbines.

Significant value-creation potential in offshore wind

In 2022, Menon Economics conducted a study assessing the long-term development of the global market for floating offshore wind and the revenue potential for Norwegian players. The report indicates that floating offshore wind could become one of Norway’s most important job creators by 2050.

According to the report, the industry surrounding floating offshore wind alone could generate over 52,000 jobs in 2050, equivalent to approximately 25 percent of the employment the oil industry had in 2019.

Menon Economics focused on floating offshore wind specifically because Norway has distinct advantages in this area. The study shows that Norwegian players could actually capture a market share of between 5 and 14 percent of the global floating market. To achieve the upper end of this range, the report emphasizes the need to rapidly build a strong industry within Norway.

Source: Menon Economics 2022, Floating offshore wind: State of the market and the emerging Norwegian value chain

The first-ever floating offshore wind turbine is Norwegian and operational at the MET Centre test site. According to the report, Norway’s advantage in floating technology has provided competitive strengths. The report also highlights the importance of collaboration between research institutions and industry as a key advantage. Norway is at the forefront of testing and development as a nation.

Norwegian companies possess high expertise, technological insight, and product quality. The vast deep-sea areas in Norway make floating technology well-suited for the Norwegian continental shelf. Menon has calculated that Norwegian players could generate up to NOK 96 billion in revenue by 2050 solely from floating offshore wind.

A prerequisite for success is that the authorities maintain a swift and stable process for tenders and licensing, along with an active industrial policy to facilitate a domestic market.

If Norway is to establish a broad supply industry within offshore wind, a domestic market with a significant number of larger projects is crucial for suppliers to acquire references and strengthen their competitiveness internationally.

Center for competence and innovation

Access to competence and an adequate supply of labor are necessary conditions for economic development, enabling businesses to sustain operations, evolve, and meet future transformational needs.

In Haugalandet and Sunnhordland, the region has a history of innovation and rapid adaptation, including the maritime industry. An example of successful adaptation is the establishment of the Norwegian Maritime Authority (Sjøfartsdirektoratet) in Haugesund after relocating from Oslo.

To secure the necessary qualified competence for establishing the directorate in Haugesund, a unique competence development project called the “Maritime School” was quickly established between the directorate and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL). The purpose of the training program was to ensure the development of expertise and capacity in Haugesund in line with the guidelines set by the Norwegian Parliament’s decision on June 6, 2003. The region successfully achieved this by converting expertise from other maritime environments into skilled maritime bureaucrats according to the directorate’s needs.

Competence strategy

Regarding the focus on offshore wind, access to competence will also play a crucial role. The region has joined forces and developed its own competence strategy to identify the skills required by companies in the region, including green industry, green energy, maritime industries, and information technology. A specific sub-report on offshore wind is currently being developed within this context.

After conducting competence mapping, numerous processes were initiated to examine opportunities for adapting educational offerings from secondary schools to higher education to address the identified needs. Collaboration laid the foundation for the initiation of various modules and programs at the university college and vocational schools, decentralized offerings in the region, various measures, and changes in collaboration between secondary schools and businesses. This collaboration is formalized through the Competence Forum Haugalandet.

Leading expertise and facilities

Westen Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL)

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) – soon to receive university status – is one of the largest educational institutions in Norway with approximately 17,000 students. HVL has five campuses in Western Norway, including two in Haugalandet and Sunnhordland. The institution boasts strong and innovative academic communities in engineering and maritime sciences, natural and social sciences, economics and management, teacher education, and health.

The Haugesund campus is centrally located in the city center, close to numerous collaborative partners in forward-thinking industries. It is advantageous for education and research that the Haugesund institution is part of a larger organization with strong academic communities across five campuses in Western Norway. This also provides additional opportunities for competence development in the field of offshore wind.

Photo: HVL/Falkeblikk AS

In Haugesund, the university offers several educational programs relevant to the offshore wind market. HVL provides a mechanical engineering program that imparts fundamental competence in the design, production, and maintenance of various components in an offshore wind turbine. The Bachelor’s program in Automation and Robotics equips students with the skills to develop automated processes. Additionally, the university has a strong maritime academic community offering education ranging from bachelor’s to Ph.D. levels, providing important expertise in safe operation and management of the complex maritime operations involved in offshore wind development.

Offshore wind has been identified as a significant academic development area for HVL, and the institution aspires to be a leading knowledge partner in offshore wind on the West Coast of Norway. The university develops many of its programs in collaboration with the industry to offer competence that aligns with defined needs. HVL is also actively working on specific plans to offer two continuing education courses in offshore wind at the Haugesund campus. There is a clear ambition to facilitate access to sufficient competence in the form of newly educated graduates in engineering, maritime studies, economics, and management for the offshore wind sector.

The government has set a target of allocating 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2040. In this context, there will be a need to develop significant new knowledge through research, including understanding societal challenges, regional implications, safety, and management, where relevant academic communities exist at HVL in Haugesund. Interdisciplinary collaboration and applied research are central elements to ensure a development in offshore wind that encompasses innovation, optimization, technology, and safety. This is crucial for the university’s Center for Maritime Safety, which works to create various forums and collaborations between academia, maritime authorities, and the industry.

Norwegian Research Centre AS (NORCE)

A regional research environment focusing on the offshore wind industries provides a good understanding of the industrial knowledge and competence requirements, technology, innovations, stakeholders, and culture. Geographical proximity leads to increased collaboration between industry and research, forming the basis for the development of internationally leading expertise in both the industry and research environment.

NORCE conducts applied research for regional clients and has access to specialized research competence in offshore wind (80% of the researchers hold a PhD). The research group “Ocean and Coast” at NORCE is located in Haugesund and conducts research and development in oceanography and marine meteorology. The core activities include analysis, measurement, and prediction of waves, wind, and currents. The group also engages in research activities related to fish farming, offshore wind power, and gas technology. Additionally, the NORCE branch in Haugesund has researchers in innovation and industry with expertise in analyzing the green transition in the ocean industries, knowledge transfer from the oil and gas industry, labor market analysis, competence mapping, as well as analysis of local content and social acceptance in the establishment of new offshore wind industries.

Regarding offshore wind, NORCE has strategic research initiatives in future energy, sustainable ocean and coast, as well as environmental and climate risks. NORCE has conducted competence mapping and value chain analyses of the offshore wind industry. In Haugesund, NORCE researches the connection between offshore wind and green hydrogen production, both through a doctoral project and the NORCE-led research center for environmentally friendly energy (FME), HyValue.

In the field of innovation and industry, NORCE in Haugesund conducts analyses of bio and circular economies, including opportunities for circular collaboration, business models, design of industrial parks that facilitate circular collaboration, and life cycle assessments.

NORCE in Haugesund is involved in an initiative to establish a research hub for offshore wind and maritime operations in the Haugesund area to leverage the strategic advantages the region has in these areas, including proximity to the upcoming Utsira Nord development, METCentre, as well as a national maritime test area for autonomous vessels, navigation technology, and new solutions.

MET Centre (Marine Energy Test Centre)

Founded in 2009, MET Centre is recognized as a world leading North Sea test centre for testing new marine renewable energy technologies such as floating wind power, solar energy and wave energy under various conditions. The test centre provides concessions, infrastructure and services required for testing in deep waters (200+ metres).

Although floating offshore wind is a relatively new field, MET Centre already has a proud history. Equinor installed the world’s very first floating wind turbine, Hywind Demo, here in 2009, Google Makani was tested at the centre in 2019, TetraSpar Demonstrator was installed summer 2021 and the demonstration of the first 10+MW floating concept (Flagship) will commence in 2023.

METCentre’s test area for floating offshore wind is located 10 km offshore, close to the recently released Utsira Nord field, and has been licenced concession for 6 floating offshore wind turbines. In addition Unitech Zefyros is placed at METCentre under its own concession. The test area is close to yards, port, and several deep water quays.

The work to strengthen the test infrastructure and services offered has already begun, and will be finalized in 2023.

Some unique characteristics for METCentre

  • Concessions already granted
  • Critical test infrastructure in place
  • 22 kV / 15 MW export cable, additional cable for 66 kV will be added in 2023
  • Fibre for data communication available
  • Unique natural conditions for test of floating technologies (depth, currents and wind)
  • Geographical location of the test centre is close to yards, ports and to the large markets (North Sea)
Leading industry clusters

Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster

Norwegian Offshore Wind (NOW) is the largest representative offshore wind body in Norway with the overall mission to develop world leading supply chains within floating wind.

In 2021 NOW was awarded status as an ARENA Pro Cluster, through Norwegian Innovation Clusters. The members range from small startups to multinational companies.

NOW grew out of the Marine Energy Test Centre (METCentre) in Haugesund. In just a few years, the Norwegian offshore wind industry has grown rapidly, and so has the cluster. NOW now represents both supply chain companies and developers. As such the cluster have a strong voice in both political and industrial arenas in Norway.

On an international level, NOW help members to gain access and succeed in the key offshore wind markets, especially within floating wind.

Arvid Nesse, CEO Norwegian Offshore Wind and MET Centre. Photo: Grethe Nygaard

NOW are industry driven, agile and have a strong market focus. The members are organized in working groups led by industry representatives. NOW aims to be a hub for information and knowledge sharing, as well as representing the industry in national and international forums for offshore wind development. NOW help suppliers find each other and enable developers to meet the supply chain by taking them on tour around Norway.

Each year, NOW organise the national conference for offshore wind in Norway, Havvindkonferansen, and the flagship international event for the global floating wind industry, Floating Wind Days.

NCE Maritime Cleantech

NCE Maritime CleanTech (NCE MCT) – located in Sunnhordland – represents one of the world’s most complete maritime commercial hubs. The cluster organisation uses the Norwegian maritime expertise, built up over generations, as a springboard for the development of new energy-efficient and environmental friendly technologies.

The organisation focus on establishing sustainable innovation projects with commercial potential, and work together for new clean maritime solutions.

The vision is to become a world-leading cluster for clean maritime solutions. NCE Maritime CleanTech is one of the European gold labeled clusters, and in 2014 they received the status as a Norwegian Center of Expertise (NCE).

NCE MCT have more than 130 partners covering every stage of the maritime value chain, from ship design to shipyards, equipment suppliers, ship owners, classification companies and R&D institutions. Learn more about how to join our cluster activities.

Central in the cluster thinking is a dynamical cooperation between industry companies, research and educational institutions and public bodies. The cluster partners are pioneers when it comes to introducing new, green energy carriers on board vessels and have launched several new breakthrough solutions for cleaner maritime business worldwide.

Amongst the clusters projects are Ampere, the world’s first all-electrical ferry; Viking Lady, the first offshore vessel running on LNG and later with LNG in combination with batteries and a fuel cell; and several hybrid and all-electric fast ferries. The cluster partners are also responsible for the design and construction of Norway’s two first hydrogen ferries.

During the last couple of years, NCE MCT has together with their partners secured EU funding for four ground-breaking projects with the common goal to cut emissions and develop new energy-efficient and environmental friendly maritime solutions.

Maritime test area for autonomous ships, navigation technology, and remote operations
With approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority (Sjøfartdirektoratet) and the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket), a national test area for autonomous ships, navigation technology, and remote operations has been established in the waters around Haugesund.

The test area is divided into four speed zones, ranging from confined waters to open sea. As such, it becomes the first test area that allows for testing solutions both in open sea and in one of Norway’s busiest shipping lanes. Through innovation collaboration among businesses, education, and research, it will facilitate development and value creation across industries. The test area will play a central role in the development of autonomous technology in shipping, underwater environments with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and within the offshore wind sector. Behind the test area is a consortium consisting of 21 stakeholders from public entities and the private sector.

Illustration: Maritime test area for autonomous ships, navigation technology, and remote operations
Central administrative bodies

Norwegian Maritime Authority (Sjøfartsdirektoratet)

The Norwegian Maritime Authority (Sjøfartsdirektoratet) is centrally located in Haugesund and is an administrative body under the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries and the Ministry of Climate and Environment. The Norwegian Maritime Authority is responsible for the administration and supervision of safety for life, health, environment, and material values on vessels flying the Norwegian flag and foreign vessels in Norwegian waters.

The green shift accelerates the need for alternative fuels, new solutions, and increased maritime digital security. The Norwegian Maritime Authority plays an important role as a facilitator and collaborator and has a strategy to drive the green shift with a focus on high safety standards and a cleaner environment.

The authority has actively contributed when Norway, among other things, was the first to implement battery technology on board vessels and most recently, in relation to the ferry company Norled’s hydrogen project.

Most of the regulations administered by the Norwegian Maritime Authority contain mechanisms for testing new technology or alternative designs. Typically, these mechanisms require demonstrating that the technology has at least the same level of safety as required by established regulations.

Examples of technologies that the authority has dealt with include new types of propulsion machinery and fuels such as batteries, methanol, hydrogen, and ammonia. Other examples can be found in the use of increased automation and projects involving unmanned or autonomous vessels. However, individual equipment can also be included in this definition, such as new navigation, rescue, communication, or work equipment on board.

The increased use of digital solutions, communication, and automation on ships has increased the risk of being exposed to digital attacks and incidents. To avoid unwanted consequences from such attacks, it is crucial to collaborate and share experiences.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority aims to assist shipowners and vessels in improving their resilience against digital attacks and their management, and has established a dedicated section for this purpose.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket)

The Norwegian Coastal Administration, a national agency under the Ministry of Transport and Communications responsible for maritime safety, coastal management, and emergency preparedness against acute pollution, has a large department located in Haugesund.

As a transport agency, the Norwegian Coastal Administration is responsible for facilitating maritime transport as an efficient, environmentally friendly, and predictable transportation alternative. It also ensures safe navigation for shipping, reduces the risk of accidents at sea, and mitigates the consequences in the event of accidents.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration has around 1100 employees spread across various offices and stations along the entire Norwegian coast.

Ideal region for living and working

Illustration: Haugaland Vekst / PYX

Haugalandet is centrally located between Bergen and Stavanger and has approximately 120,000 inhabitants. If we include the Sunnhordland region, which is geographically close and has close cooperation, the population approaches 180,000.

– Fell for the people

The Viking kings who settled in Haugalandet often traveled the world to acquire knowledge and engage in trade. Well, quite often they also plundered and ravaged.

Today, the tables have turned a bit. It is Haugalandet that shares its world-leading expertise in offshore wind, subsea, shipping, and process industries with the rest of the world. But we still engage in plundering. Now, it is the hearts of people that we steal.

Indian Apurva Jain is one of those who has lost his heart to Haugalandet. After studying renewable energy with a specialization in offshore wind at universities in the UK, Spain, and France, he had plenty of job opportunities to choose from. But it was at Deep Wind Offshore in Haugalandet that he found a safe haven.

– This region is known for floating offshore wind and its world-leading testing facilities. It is, of course, exciting and attractive, but what fascinated me the most was the people and the open Norwegian model with strong involvement from all levels of the organization,” says Apurva Jain.

He is also surprised by how open and welcoming the people of Haugalandet are.

– Everyone is incredibly friendly and doesn’t hesitate to help if you need anything, he says.

Apurva Jain in the center of Haugesund. Photo: Grethe Nygaard

Deep Wind Offshore

The regional offshore wind developer, Deep Wind Offshore, are backed from industrial owners from shipping/offshore and utility sectors, respectively Knutsen OAS, Haugaland Kraft and Sunnhordland Kraftlag.  Deep Wind Offshore make clean electricity and empower costal communities by harnessing the offshore winds.

Deep Wind Offshore was founded in 2020, with the headquarter in Haugesund. A relatively new company, but the founders have more than 20 years of experience from the industry.

Being technology agnostic, focused on technology improvements providing opportunities for the supply chain to optimize local content, Deep Wind Offshore is involved in offshore wind development in South Korea, Sweden and Norway.


A well-organized housing and job market

Do you have urban preferences? Or do you prefer living by the sea, where houses are not so close together? Maybe you want to be in the countryside, close to animals and small farms? How about a house in the forest or up in the hills?

In Haugalandet, we have it all. You can enjoy city life in the regional center of Haugesund, go underwater hunting in one of the finest diving areas along the coast, surf from the beautiful beaches of Karmøy, or catch your own dinner from the sea outside Utsira or Bokn. Or you can pursue your interest in skiing in the Sauda Mountains, hunt deer and forest birds in the woods of Vindafjord, or fish for salmon in the famous rivers of Etne and Suldal. All of this can be complemented with herbs and mushrooms from the forests of Sveio.

Best of all, no matter where you choose to settle in Haugalandet, the infrastructure is in place. The municipalities collaborate closely and have readily available building plots. The selection of used homes/apartments is good, there are no daycare waiting lists, the school offering is advantageous, and there are many varied leisure activities.

Moreover, there are short distances in the region. It is entirely possible to live in Etne and work in Haugesund, or vice versa. Or you can commute to Stord in Sunnhordland – a region with complementary industrial and development environments that closely collaborate with the communities in Haugalandet.

When Rogfast – the underwater connection between Haugalandet and Stavanger – is completed in a few years, the travel time from Haugesund to Stavanger will be reduced to just under an hour. This will open up opportunities for an even more dynamic job market. At the same time, it will provide close proximity to several competence and research environments and another international airport.

The housing market

Haugalandet, with all its richness, is an affordable place to settle down for individuals or families who wish to establish themselves here.

The price development in recent years indicates a good balance between supply and demand. The entire region experiences high activity and is well-prepared for the development of new housing. The regional city of Haugesund has made significant investments in urban densification and transformation projects in the city center and nearby areas, including residential buildings, leisure pools/public pools, and spaces for cultural activities.

Figures from the industry organization Eiendom Norge and the real estate agent Krogsveen show that the average price per square meter for properties sold in Haugesund in 2023 is less than half of the national average in Norway.

Source: Price statistics for Haugesund and Karmøy – Krogsveen
International education from kindergarten to university level

Haugalandet consists of the 10 municipalities: Haugesund, Tysvær, Karmøy, Utsira, Sveio, Bokn, Vindafjord, Etne, Suldal, and Sauda. All the municipalities offer good childcare services and modern primary and secondary schools.

Secondary schools with a wide range of study programs can be found in Haugesund, Karmøy, Vindafjord, Sauda, and Suldal.

In the regional center of Haugesund, there is an international preschool called Haugesund International Preschool FUS. This is a preschool for children aged 0-6, with children and staff from various parts of the world. The preschool is bilingual, where both English and Norwegian are part of daily life.

The region also has an international school, Haugesund International School, which is an accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) school, offering the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students aged 6-16.

Students can continue their education within the IB programmes to Diploma Programme level at Vardafjell Upper Secondary School in Haugesund.

International Baccalaureate-students at Vardafjell Upper Secondary School in Haugesund. Photo: Grethe Nygaard

At Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Campus Haugesund, one can pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fields such as technology, computer engineering, climate, energy and environment, and economics and management.

A vibrant regional center

Haugesund had a significant herring fishing industry, and much of the activity took place at Smedasundet. Today, Smedasundet, or what is called Indre Kai, is a popular place for nightlife and recreation, frequented by both locals and visitors.

Indre Kai truly comes to life during the city’s many festivals, especially Sildajazzen (The Herring Jazz Festival) and Havnedagene (The Harbor Days), both held in August. Along Indre Kai, you can find several hotels and a variety of restaurants where you can enjoy a good dinner or lunch.

Sildajazz is a renowned jazz festival held annually in Haugesund, Norway. It is known for its rich history, vibrant atmosphere, and high-quality performances. The festival attracts jazz enthusiasts from all over the world who come to enjoy a diverse lineup of jazz artists, ranging from traditional to contemporary styles. Sildajazz offers a unique blend of indoor and outdoor concerts, workshops, jam sessions, and cultural events, creating a lively and engaging experience for both musicians and audiences. Sildajazz has established itself as a must-visit event for jazz lovers and music enthusiasts alike. Photo: Grethe Nygaard.

Culture and commerce

The region offers a wide range of cultural experiences, including cinemas, theaters, art museums, major festivals, and a diverse concert program. Here, everyone can find something to their taste.

A region that respects itself also has a football club of a certain stature. FK Haugesund, with its 30 years of existence, is a young football club but has managed to establish itself among the best football clubs in the country. Since 2010, the club has been competing in the country’s top division and has qualified for European competitions on three occasions. The club has a state-of-the-art stadium and contributes to creating joy, enthusiasm, and pride throughout the region.

The city center of the regional center, Haraldsgata, is known as the country’s longest pedestrian street with a rich selection of shops and cafes. Here, you can find everything from modern interior stores, a wide range of clothing stores, to culinary delights in one of the city’s gourmet shops.

Den Festivalen i Vangen is a vibrant and diverse music festival held in the picturesque setting of Vangen. It showcases a wide range of musical genres and attracts both local and international artists. The festival offers an immersive experience with multiple stages, art installations, food vendors, and a lively atmosphere. Photo: Grethe Nygaard.

Plenty to choose from

If you need a break from the city, nature experiences are always close by. Island hopping to the region’s beautiful islands – Utsira, Røvær, and Feøy – from Indre Kai is a short and idyllic journey. If you prefer to stay on land, you can take a trip north from the pier along the Coastal Path, a trail that leads along the sea, through history, and past Norway’s only national monument. Alternatively, you can hike eastward to the Byheiene (City Hills) with numerous trails and walkways, reaching heights with beautiful views or passing by idyllic small lakes where, on fine summer days, you can see trout rising.

From Haugesund City Centre, you can easily access the region’s beautiful islands – Utsira, Røvær, and Feøy. Photo: Grethe Nygaard.

The regional center has a lot to offer – something for every taste. Haugesund is also the only city in the country where you can find both a hospital, a university/college, and a shipyard in the city center.

Get in touch

Unlock the potential of offshore wind in Haugalandet!

In the Haugalandet region, collaboration is in our DNA. We thrive on working together with national and international stakeholders to drive progress and innovation. If you have any questions, inquiries, or simply want to connect, we are here for you.

Haugalandet is poised to become a key player in the offshore wind industry. Our goal is to develop and deliver cutting-edge offshore wind solutions that not only align with the ambitious targets set by the Norwegian government but also meet the growing demands of European and global markets.

Leading this charge is Tora Margrethe Eide, our dedicated Offshore Wind Coordinator at Haugaland Vekst. Tora is your gateway to the offshore wind industry. Whether you want to learn more about our initiatives, explore potential collaborations, or connect with relevant actors, Tora is here to assist you.

Let us connect you with the right partners and provide you with the information you need to embark on a successful journey. Together, we can shape the future of offshore wind.

Tora Margrethe Eide, Offshore Wind Coordinator, Haugaland Vekst.

Tora Margrethe Eide, Offshore Wind Coordinator, Haugaland Vekst. Photo: Grethe Nygaard.

Contact: [email protected] / Haugaland Vekst: [email protected]


Invest in Rogaland and Invest in Sunnhordland: Your Gateway to the Region!

Are you considering establishing a presence in our vibrant region? Invest in Rogaland and Invest in Sunnhordland are here to support and guide your company every step of the way.

As your first point of contact, we offer tailored and complimentary services to facilitate your market entry. We understand the unique needs of international companies and are committed to providing personalized assistance. Our services are financed by Rogaland County Council and Vestland County Council respectively and are free of charge.

Count on us to support your site selection process by leveraging our extensive knowledge of the region. We can help arrange delegation visits, connect you with relevant networks and business clusters, and provide crucial information for your business opportunity.

While Invest in Rogaland focuses on serving the Haugalandet area, Invest in Sunnhordland covers the neighboring northern region. We have in-depth knowledge of the offshore wind sector and work closely together to offer comprehensive support.

Invest in Rogaland and Invest in Sunnhordland are your partners in unlocking the vast potential of our region. Together, we can make your investment journey a success.

Rita Østbø Stobbs, Invest in Rogaland

Rita Østbø Stobbs, Invest in Rogaland. Photo: Grethe Nygaard

Contact: [email protected]


Lene Pilskog, Invest in Sunnhordland

Lene Pilskog, Invest in Sunnhordland. Photo: Grethe Nygaard.

Contact: [email protected]

Sist oppdatert 05.07.2023