Norwegian Minister outlines plans offshore wind lease areas

In: Windfarms
08/06/2021

At the Floating Wind conference 2021 in Haugesund, Norway's Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, unveiled plans for the future of offshore wind development in Norway.

Last year, Norway opened two areas for offshore wind, Utsira Nord (1.5 GW) and Sørlige Nordsjø II (3 GW). Six consortia have already declared their interest.

Sørlige Nordsjø II lies far from land and borders on the Danish economic zone south-east in the North Sea. According to Minister Bru, it can be developed on a commercial basis – with no state aid. She unveiled that the auction for Sørlige Nordsjø II is slated for Q1 2022.


It is anticipated that the Norwegian government will award 2 or 3 project areas in Sørlige Nordsjø II for development. The award will be based on a two-stage process. The first step is a qualification-process. The second step will be an auction where the qualified companies/consortias can participate.

Minister Bru highlighted that many developers are looking into hybrid projects, combining offshore wind farms and interconnectors and that there are some elements will have to put in place before the process can be initiated. This includes assess legal and other effects of hybrid projects ahead of any awards for the Sørlige Nordsjø II area.

Utsira Nord lies west of Utsira and Haugalandet, and holds potential for floating wind power. The area is large, close to land, and has the ability to facilitate both demonstration projects and larger projects.

Minster Bru revealed that the process of floating wind development Utsira Nord will differ from that for traditional fixed foundations, noting that the challenges are different. The Norwegian government will move forward with a licensing process. When projects have matured sufficiently, it will assess the timing and level of support for floating wind projects.

Norway is proposing to award at least three areas for up to 500 MW each, at Utsira North. The award of acreage will be based on qualitative criteria, and will take place as soon as the framework is in place. This is expected to start by the end of this year.


In her speech, Minister Bru also revealed that the Norwegian government has initiated a process of identifying new areas for offshore wind production and conduct an impact assessment of these areas. She noted that 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.


To ensure a neutral and efficient coordination of the offshore grid users and provide clarity for the developers the government will start working on regulation for the offshore system operation and has designated Statnett as the system operator under the Offshore Energy Act for cables and installations not regulated under the Petroleum Act. It will also assess and possibly propose necessary legislative changes and more detailed rules for efficient access to, and use, of the offshore grid.

Furthermore, the government will establish an offshore wind collaboration forum to enhance collaboration and reduce potential conflicts. The forum will bring together industry leaders, public authorities, the research community, industrial clusters, users of the ocean space and additional relevant stakeholders.


The aim of this forum is to build competence, find sustainable solutions and thus strengthen the industry's competitiveness – where collaboration is key. It will be tasked to  address issues like co-existence, supply chain development and export opportunities,. It will be lead by Minister Bru and the first meeting is scheduled for early September.


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