The Norwegian Government is set to publish an Energy White Paper on 11 June 2021 that could have a significant bearing on the development of its nascent offshore wind industry
The White Paper is expected to focus on long-term value creation from Norway’s energy resources. It will have a particular focus on industrialising existing resources and new ones, and on job creation.
Due to be published at the same time, long-sought guidelines for offshore wind development are also in the works and are expected to clarify licensing procedures for the first offshore windfarms in Norway.
The Norwegian Government recently opened up two areas for offshore wind development, Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II. Having done so, the government has been asked for more detail on the licensing process for offshore wind projects at the sites. In response, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has been developing a framework for offshore wind projects.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster, Science meets industry – floating wind in Norway, political advisor to Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy Karoline Sjøen Andersen said the White Paper and guidelines would provide a “model for offshore wind development in Norway.”
Ms Andersen said the process of developing the guidelines was “complex” and the Norwegian Government had consulted extensively with industry and with other countries in which offshore wind is long-established.
She said the Norwegian Government also wanted to ensure it learned from the experience of onshore wind in Norway and avoided the kind of missteps that have clouded its development.
Norwegian Energy Partners director wind and solar John Dugstad told OWJ the White Paper will focus heavily on the onshore power, electrification and ‘forward-looking industries’ such as offshore wind, carbon capture and storage. It will also focus on the extraction of subsea minerals.
Mr Dugstad said that, in addition, the White Paper will include a roadmap for hydrogen and focus on the need to reduce emissions in the offshore oil and gas industry.
“We do not know too much about the guidelines for the construction of offshore windfarms that are also due to be published in June,” he explained, “but believe they will primarily address licensing procedures, guidelines for environmental impact assessment, grid connection and community interaction. We might also see some comments on support systems for floating wind development at Utsira,” he said.
A Royal Decree for the development of up to 4.5 GW of offshore wind capacity at Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II was issued in mid-2020. The decree made it possible to submit licence applications for offshore wind projects in Norwegian waters for the first time.
In accordance with the Norwegian Ocean Energy Act, areas must be opened by the government before licence applications can be submitted. A proposal to open areas for development and a draft regulation for consultation were issued in 2019.
Speaking at the time the decree was issued, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru said, “Offshore wind power offers great opportunities for Norwegian businesses.
“In the immediate future the market will be in other countries, but if the cost of offshore wind continues to fall it could also become competitive in Norway. It is now time to prepare for future development by allocating space for offshore renewables.”
Norway’s minister for climate and environment Sveinung Rotevatn said “the world-leading offshore industry in Norway” could be at the forefront of developing the technology that makes it possible to reach Norwegian and global climate targets. “By investing in offshore wind, we can both create new jobs for the future and reduce emissions,” he said.
A report submitted to Minister Bru on 2 February 2021 said investing in offshore wind could create tens of thousands of jobs and add massive value for Norwegian industry.
Riviera Maritime Media’s Offshore Energy Webinar Week is being held 14 June 2021 – use this link for more details and to register