A report submitted to Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru on 2 February 2021 says investing in offshore wind can create tens of thousands of jobs and add massive value for Norwegian industry
The report to the Minister – produced by an alliance including Aker, Equinor, Statkraft, Vårgrønn, Hafslund Eco, Energi Norge, Norwegian Oil and Gas and Norsk Industri, supported by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), Norway’s largest organisation for employers and the leading business lobbyist – makes a number of recommendations about what needs to be done for Norway to exploit the potential of the fast-growing offshore wind energy market.
In order to accelerate export-oriented job creation and industrial development from offshore wind, the alliance recommends “transparent qualitative award criteria” for developing the Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II areas, a structured licensing process with clear deadlines and a support scheme for the realisation of 500 MW of floating offshore wind as a “development arena” for Norwegian suppliers.
The report also recommends “rapid allocation” of areas in which the main purpose is to electrify offshore oil and gas projects and that Statnett immediately be commissioned to assess how to quickly put in place export solutions for power generated from Sørlige Nordsjø II.
“While oil discoveries on the Norwegian shelf were unique in the European context, the wind blows everywhere,” said the report. “Now it is urgent for Norway. Other countries see the same opportunities, and several have already established supply chains and national initiatives with the goal of developing their own industry and production.”
In a statement, NHO chief executive Ole Erik Almid said, “Two areas for offshore wind on the Norwegian shelf – Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II – have been announced. We must get started with these as soon as possible.”
Mr Almid noted that Sintef estimates that investing in Norwegian offshore wind could generate as many as 50,000 jobs by 2050 and create annual potential turnover of NKr110Bn (US$13Bn) for the Norwegian supplier industry in the same timeframe.
“We have significant opportunities and a good starting point to position ourselves in these markets. A successful investment in industrial development related to offshore wind will ensure that technology and competence can continue to provide a basis for jobs and value creation when petroleum activity on the Norwegian shelf gradually declines,” Mr Almid said.
Norsk Industri chief executive Stein Leir-Hansen said, “Norsk Industri believes the government should regard offshore wind as one of its most important areas for investment.”
He highlighted Norway’s own need to green power as industry electrifies and said a start needs to be made immediately because the international market is growing rapidly, “and we must make sure not to miss the opportunities that exist. If we can create a solid domestic market,” he said, “we can create great opportunities for exports for a diverse range of players.”
Norwegian Oil and Gas chief executive Anniken Hauglie said, “In the future, we will continue to supply large amounts of energy through oil and gas. However, the need for renewable energy will grow enormously in the years to come.
“The EU and the UK have great ambitions for offshore wind and the export opportunities for offshore wind resources from the Norwegian continental shelf are enormous.
“Norway also has the opportunity to take a leading role connecting power from offshore wind to other countries. We can develop a new industry and produce more renewable energy, without undermining the balance between supply and demand in the Nordic power market.”