Aker Offshore Wind, state-run utility Statkraft and Ocean Winds, the EDP Renewables and Engie joint venture, have signed a deal to bid for, develop, build and operate a floating offshore wind farm and its associated infrastructure, in the Utsira Nord area of the Norwegian North Sea.
Aker Offshore Wind chairman, Kristian Røkke, said: “Together with Ocean Winds and Statkraft, we have formed a partnership of experienced developers and operators to push the boundaries for offshore floating wind and develop new value chains for Norwegian industry.”
The deal follows a speech by then-Norwegian energy minister, Tina Bru, in June which noted that the 1,010km2 Utsira Nord area would require the use of floating platforms, owing to the water depths.
The minister said that “because the challenges are different”, the government would not hold an auction process, but would award at least three areas of up to 500MW each at Utsira Nord, with the licensing process beginning by year-end. The minister said one factor was that any large-scale project at Utsira Nord would require state aid to be commercially viable, but this would be assessed during the licensing process as projects matured.
The alliance follows similar recent Norwegian offshore wind deals. September saw a pact between RWE, NTE and Havram to develop floating offshore wind power in Norway. It followed a June agreement between Ørsted, Hafslund Eco and Fred Olsen Renewables. Norway’s state-owned company Equinor also announced a floating offshore wind bid with Vårgrøn in May.
Aker Offshore Wind is also partnering with Statkraft and BP on the other area announced for offshore wind development, Sørlige Nordsjø II. As this area will allow bottom-fixed projects, Bru said in June that it would be awarded in auctions beginning in Q1 2022 and operate on a commercial basis without state aid.
Aker Offshore Wind and Ocean Winds are also collaborating on bids for semi-submersible floating projects in Scotland’s Outer Moray Firth.
Ocean Winds has 1.5GW of offshore wind assets under construction and 4GW in development. It aims to reach 5-7GW in operation or under construction by 2025, with 5-10GW in advanced development.
Statkraft has 2.4GW of operational wind power and is targeting a further 2.5-3GW of wind power developments annually by 2025.