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Battle for Norway's offshore wind picks up speed

It has been clear for some time that Norway, too, finally wants to start building offshore wind farms. Shortly before the government's deadline for the first tender, the race is picking up speed, as several major energy companies have announced their participation.

Image: RWE RenewablesImage: RWE Renewables

The Norwegian government has already been planning the Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II areas in the North Sea for up to 4.5 gigawatts of floating and ground-mounted wind turbines since 2019.

Utsira Nord is a 1,010 square kilometre area located west of Haugesund off the west coast of Norway. It is only suitable for floating wind turbines, is close to the coast and offers opportunities for both demonstration and larger projects.

The second area, Sørlige Nordsjø II, is located south of Norway and borders the Danish area in the North Sea. It is therefore also relevant in terms of exporting electricity. Both fixed and floating turbines can be installed there.

Shortly before the government will announce further details of the tender on 11 June, several project developers have now announced their participation in the selection process.

For example, the German utility EnBW has teamed up with Norwegian investors to build a 1.4 gigawatt wind farm on 400 square kilometres in the southern area of Sørlige Nordsjø II with the project company Norseman Wind. The project consortium expects investment costs of up to 4.22 billion dollars, it announced on Tuesday.

The Norseman Wind project is planned to be built with ground-anchored foundations, which will be supplied by the Norwegian company Aker Solutions. In return, the consortium plans to forego government subsidies and award 50 per cent of the contracts to local companies in order to meet the government's requirements and establish a Norwegian offshore wind industry.

More companies have until mid-June to announce their participation in the tender (Image: Pixabay)

"We believe that Sørlige Nordsjø II is particularly suitable for bottom-fixed technology and have therefore established a consortium that has extensive experience from the North Sea and with developing and operating bottom-fixed offshore wind farms. Our business model means that we do not need government subsidies. Thus, the state's green money can rather be spent on floating offshore wind on Utsira North, as well as on hydrogen and carbon capture," explained Harald Dirdal, from Norseman Wind.

Norseman Wind is getting competition from another consortium: Equinor, RWE Renewables and Hydro REIN also want to build a wind farm in the area.

“The North Sea has among the world’s best wind resources. A large-scale offshore wind farm at Sørlige Nordsjø II could play a key role in expanding the North Sea as an offshore energy hub and create new industrial opportunities for Norway as an energy nation. Between Equinor, RWE and Hydro we have the industrial capabilities, from the turbine to the consumer, to create value and supply renewable power to Europe,” says Equinor’s Executive Vice President New Energy Solutions, Pål Eitrheim.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, Chief Executive Officer of RWE Renewables, added: "Offshore wind is key for meeting the increasing demand for renewable power, supporting local industries and creating new, future-proof jobs. We will bring our 20 years of experience and expertise in the offshore industry together with our partners Equinor and Hydro to contribute in delivering Norway’s offshore wind ambitions.”

Other companies can express their interest until mid-June.

Windfair Editors
Norway, offshore, Equinor, EnBW, RWE Renewables, wind farm, tender, government

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