Norwegian Govt to Open Up More Areas for Offshore Wind Development in the North Sea

Thanks to an international turnover of NOK 11 billion in goods and services relating to offshore wind, Norway will now open up more areas in the North Sea for its development; tender award announcements are expected at the beginning of 2022

Tina Bru, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy. Credit: Kjetil Ree, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Tina Bru, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy. Credit: Kjetil Ree, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Norwegian government has announced that it will open new territories for the development of offshore wind projects. The country’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru stated that the decision was taken after the local industry approached the government to boost offshore wind development after recording an international turnover of NOK 11 billion in goods and services relating to offshore wind. Minister Bru made the announcement during the Floating Wind 2021 Conference in Haugesund.

Commenting on the occasion, she said: “The starting point for shaping our policy is that offshore wind is an industrial opportunity for Norway. We need to diversify our industrial base and we need to create new jobs. We want to build on the technology and competence in our oil and gas companies, and our fantastic service and supply industry. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) will lead this process and work closely with relevant agencies. The process is expected to take approximately two years.”

The announcement has been welcomed by offshore wind industry leaders across Europe. The Sørlige Nordsjø II area in particular has attracted a lot of interest. The zone is suitable for bottom-fixed projects. Last year, when Norway had opened Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II for offshore development up to a capacity of 4.5GW, the government had received an array of competitive tenders. Among them was Equinor which teamed up Vårgrønn (a renewable energy company set up by Norwegian energy entrepreneur and investor HitecVision and Italy’s energy major Eni) to construct a floating offshore wind farm at Utsira Nord.

The Norwegian government will now begin identifying new areas for offshore wind development, along with conducting impact assessments of these areas. It has also designated Statnett as the official transmission system operator for all offshore wind projects. The next steps for the Norwegian government include working on the regulation of the offshore wind system operation. This involves assessing and possibly proposing necessary legislative changes and more detailed rules for efficient access to and use, of the offshore grid. Award announcements are expected in the beginning of 2022.