Norway’s new centre-left minority coalition government is committed to developing offshore wind, its recently appointed minister for petroleum and energy confirmed this week.
Marte Mjøs Persen assured delegates at WindEurope’s Electric City conference (23-25 November) in Copenhagen, Denmark, that although the new government has only been in office for about a month, offshore wind is “on top of our agenda”.
Persen confirmed a national strategy for offshore wind will be drawn up by the new government, formed following eight years of conservative rule, and will include commitments to provide efficient regulations and making sure grid infrastructure will be in place on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Norway’s transition to hydropower has put it in a unique position compared to most other countries, she said, adding: “Electrifying industries and transport is easier with such a good starting point, but we have to prepare for the future. More renewable energy is needed, both in Norway and in Europe. So offshore wind fits Norway.”
Persen pointed to Norway’s recent decision to open two areas with an estimated 4.5GW of capacity in the North Sea that have attracted interest from a number of consortiums: Sørlige Nordsjø II and the 1,010km2 Utsira Nord area, which will require the use of floating platforms due to its water depths.
These include Aker Offshore Wind, state-run utility Statkraft and Ocean Winds, which intend to bid for a floating offshore wind farm in the Utsira Nord area, as well as a consortium comprised of Iberdrola, TotalEnergies and Norsk Havvind, which aims to bid for both sites.
“Floating offshore wind is less mature in terms of technology but is perhaps the area representing the most exciting opportunity for Norway,” said Persen. “Our coastal topography is well suited for floating turbines, and we can build on the technology and competence in our oil and gas companies and our service and supply industry.
“The development of offshore wind is entering a new era in Norway. This will contribute to the energy transition we need and at the same time promote jobs, activity and new innovation.”