Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has opened a consultation on three areas that could be opened up for offshore windfarm developments
Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has opened a consultation on three areas that could be opened up for the development of offshore windfarms. The areas in question are suitable for bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind.
The first two areas are Utsira Nord and Sandskallen – Sørøya Nord. The ministry is also asking for input on whether the Sørlige Nordsjø II area should also be opened to offshore wind development. According to Norway’s Ocean Energy Act, areas must be opened by the government before licence applications can be submitted.
The country’s Minister for Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg said, “Offshore wind 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 the future development by allocating space for offshore renewables.”
Utsira Nord is to the west of Haugesund and is suitable for floating wind power, which is the most interesting technology from a Norwegian perspective. The area is also large, close to shore and provides opportunities for demonstration projects and larger projects.
Sandskallen-Sørøya Nord lies northwest of Hammerfest in Norway’s high north and has both shallow and deeper waters. Floating and bottom-fixed technology are possible here. Like Utsira Nord, the area is fairly close to shore, making it more attractive for smaller developments, such as demonstration projects.
The Minister said he believed it is important to open an area for bottom-fixed wind power near the coast that could provide opportunities for Norwegian industry in the north.
Sørlige Nordsjø II borders the Danish sector of the North Sea and is relevant for direct export of electricity. The area has water depths which makes it possible to develop bottom-fixed wind but floating solutions could also be relevant. Sørlige Nordsjø II is also situated in an area with existing offshore oil activity.
The Minister said he wanted to ensure “good co-ordination” between the offshore oil and gas renewables industries and is asking for feedback on whether Sørlige Nordsjø II should be opened to offshore wind and how the ministry can best facilitate the co-existence of the two industries.
The public consultation will end on 1 November.