Zero-emission island Utsira by 2020, Norway

Utsira has a plan to become a zero-emission island by 2020. In order to reach this goal, the municipality is trying out new opportunities for renewable energy. Utsira participated in a pilot project to test the world’s first full-scale combined wind power and hydrogen plant.

The island is located in a distance of approximately 20 km from the west shore of Haugesund in Norway. Utsira has about 200 inhabitants and is connected to the mainland by ferry.

On the island, due to the severe weather conditions transportation is often disturbed. This makes fossil fuel supplies from the mainland expensive and uncertain. On the other hand, the strong wind, typical for the island, are favorable for wind energy production.

So, in the project, ten households were exclusively supplied by the plant. Two windmills were installed, and each turbine had a capacity of 600 kWh. They were able to produce enough electricity to run the entire Utsira society.

The Utsira wind power and hydrogen plant were operated in the period 2004–2008. The project was financed by “Statoil ASA” and operated together with wind turbine manufacturer “Enercon GmbH”. The plant was operated from the control center situated on the mainland and the back-up power was available from the continent via the existing underwater cable.

Keywords: wind energy, energy storage, hydrogen facility, Utsira, Norway