Norway proposes to open two new areas in the North Sea with the potential to hold installed capacity of up to 3.5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind, as Western Europe’s largest oil producer aims to use its offshore oil and gas expertise to boost the wind power exports of Norwegian companies.
Before the end of the summer, Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy will propose the opening of an area, Utsira Nord, off its west coast in the North Sea, for offshore wind development, the ministry said on Tuesday. Utsira Nord could hold installed offshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of between 500 MW and 1.5 GW.
Southern North Sea II is close to Norway’s maritime border with Denmark and could potentially connect offshore wind power generation from the area with Europe’s power grid, Norwegian Petroleum Minister Kjell-Børge Freiberg said.
Utsira Nord is suitable for floating wind power installation and generation, the ministry says, noting that the Norwegian government presented a floating offshore wind strategy in 2018.
Offshore wind power could offer a lot of opportunities for Norway’s companies as firms can use their experience in the oil and gas sector, and in the shipping, shipbuilding, and renewable energy industries to develop offshore wind farms, minister Freiberg said.
“The development of wind power in Norway creates opportunities for suppliers and investors, from both Norway and other countries,” the minister said in September last year, noting that the government welcomes further development of wind power in the country.
Norway doesn’t plan any new subsidies for renewable energy as it believes that the development of energy sources alternative to fossil fuels should be market-based, Freiberg said.
The previous petroleum minister, Terje Søviknes, discussed last summer the potential construction of the first offshore floating wind farms in Norwegian waters with companies and other stakeholders.