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Norway unveils major offshore wind plans

On Wednesday, the Norwegian government announced its plans to become a major offshore wind nation by 2040. In the future instead of oil and gas the country wants to export renewable energy to Europe . But there is still a long way to go.

Oslo, the capital of Norway (Image: Pixabay)Oslo, the capital of Norway (Image: Pixabay)

The plans sound ambitious: Norway wants to build offshore wind farms with a capacity of 30 gigawatts by 2040. At the same time, the country is currently starting from almost zero: In addition to two individual turbines, Norway has so far only cleared two North Sea areas for the development of up to 4.5 GW of ground-based and floating offshore wind farms, with a first tender for 1.5 GW expected later this year.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere is aware that these plans are high aims. But he is banking on the experience many Norwegian companies have gained in the offshore oil and gas business - a factor that also helped the U.K. expand a few years ago.

"From day one of our government, we have worked to develop Norway into an offshore wind nation. With favorable sea areas, workers with world-leading technology know-how and good cooperation between government and industry, we have all the ingredients for success," the prime minister said at a press conference. "This would almost double our power generation. The goal is to get almost as much new electricity from offshore wind as we produce in total in Norway today."

The oil and gas industry can also be supplied with wind power, according to the Norwegian government (Image: Pixabay)

The initiative is tantamount to a green industry push in Norway and "can provide abundant renewable energy in the future. The goal of the development is to deliver large amounts of clean energy to people and businesses. To achieve that, we need to invest now. And we need to invest in a big way", the head of government stressed.

The government plans to enable its offshore wind plans by deploying various grid solutions. Grid connections would be considered on a case-by-case basis and could be via hybrid cables connecting multiple markets simultaneously or via direct so-called radial cables to individual destinations in Europe and Norway, the government said in a statement.

A number of offshore wind industry giants have already expressed interest in the tender later this year, including Norwegian state-owned Equinor, as well as Shell, bp, Eni and global market leader Orsted of Denmark. At the same time, work has already begun on mapping potential new areas along the coast that can be prepared for offshore wind, with a view to releasing new areas for development at regular intervals from 2025.

The domestic energy industry, which had often criticized the government for moving too slowly, welcomed the newfound ambition: "This will lay the foundation for the industrial development of offshore wind power," the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Katrin Radtke
Norway, offshore, plan, unveil, Prime Minister, government, industry, site, North Sea, cables, oil, gas, export

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