Norwegian Government seeks feedback on Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord tender plans

In its efforts to auction 30 GW of offshore wind by 2040, the Norwegian government revealed it is planning to tender the first phases of
Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord offshore wind farm areas by the end of Q1 2023 and it has now opened a consultation ahead of the launch.

In the package sent for consultation, the government's proposal for pre-qualification criteria, qualitative criteria and the allocation, auction and support model is presented. Furthermore there is also an overview of the of the boundaries for Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord.

For Sørlige Nordsjø II, a pre-qualification will be carried out for interest parties who wish to compete for the first phase. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has drawn up proposals for prequalification criteria.

A ceiling will be set for the number of applicants who can be prequalified to participate in the further competition. In the consultation, the Norwegian government asked for input on how this ceiling should be set. Applicants who are prequalified will then have the opportunity to participate in an auction.

If there will be a need for state aid, the ministry's proposal is that this be done through a bilateral contract for difference. The government's support through the contracts for difference will be limited through an upper ceiling.

When the government has chosen the auction model, the main consideration has been that there should be an efficient distribution of society's resources, i.e. with the lowest possible level of support. The auction is similar after the 'Anglo-Dutch' auction method.

Sørlige Nordsjø II borders on the Danish economic zone south-east in the North Sea. It is suitable for bottom fixed projects with a combined capacity of up to 3000 MW. Phase One will see an area suitable for up to 1500 MW auctioned.

Utsira Nord lies west of Utsira and Haugalandet, and holds potential for floating wind power. It is expected to host turbines with a combined capacity of up to 1500 MW.  For Utsira Nord, it was previously decided that the site will be awarded on the basis of qualitative criteria due to its potential for innovative technology and floating developments. The government will divide this area into three notification areas, where a wind power plant of 500 MW can be built within each area. Also for Utsira Nord, the government aims to allocate land with minimal state support.

"Today the sea wind adventure begins in earnest! We will allocate areas corresponding to 30,000 MW by 2040, and now we present the framework for allocation in Utsira Nord and the first areas in Southern North Sea II. Collaboration is a key to success, and I hope we get a lot of input in the consultation that is now being sent out. This will set the standard for offshore wind in Norway,"
said Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland (Ap).  

"The government wants the investment in offshore wind to provide industrial development in Norway, facilitate innovation and technology development and provide increased production of renewable power for Norway. To achieve these goals, we must have a close dialogue with the offshore wind industry and other users of the sea,"
said Aasland.

The public consultation will be open until 6 January 2023.