Norway opens up to offshore wind

NORWAY: The government's energy minister Terje Søviknes has called for the deployment of offshore wind "as soon as possible".

Statoil's 2MW Hywind demonstration project is Norway's only offshore wind capacity to date

The Petroleum and Energy ministry has tasked Norway's water resources and energy directorate to investigate "whether significant changes have occurred since the strategic impact assessment was presented in 2013".

The report in 2013 looked at 15 potential offshore wind sites, identifying five as viable options, with two of those suited to floating foundations.

Towards the end of 2012, Norway put development of offshore wind capacity on hold, arguing the technology was too expensive, especially in comparison to its hydroelectric or onshore wind capacity.

Now, the Norwegian government wants to take another look at offshore wind, using demonstration projects, particularly for floating technology, to investigate its feasibility.

"The Government wishes to facilitate offshore wind power, especially with regard to wind power demonstration projects. The government's ambition is to open one to two areas as soon as possible," said Terje Søviknes.

Despite this new backing, the government does not feel it necessary to set up new aid schemes for the projects. Financial backing will be provided by Norway's public enterprise Enova, which supports clean energy production and consumption projects.

Norway is the mother of the floating wind industry, having hosted Statoil's 2MW Hywind demonstration turbine since 2009, which is also the nation's only offshore capacity, to date.