Norway Adds Phases, Interconnection Limits to Offshore Wind Auctions

The Government of Norway has revealed further details about the upcoming offshore wind auctions at the Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord zones with a combined capacity of 4.5 GW.

The 3 GW of fixed-bottom capacity at the Sørlige Nordsjø II zone will be auctioned off in two 1.5 GW phases.

The auction for the first 1.5 GW of capacity is expected to take place during this year.

The project/s selected in this phase will not be inter-connected to the grids of other countries and will deliver all of the generated electricity to the Norwegian grid, the government said.

According to Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, the first turbines could be installed at the site in the second half of this decade, with government subsidies in play to spark the project.

The 1.5 GW of capacity at the Sørlige Nordsjø II zone awarded in the second auction will have the option to export the generated electricity outside Norway.

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is now in the process of developing an auction model that will enable the first phase of the Sørlige Nordsjø II to be realized.

The government will now proceed with the regulatory changes on the auction solution and area allocation process that were consulted in the summer of 2021, and will during the spring submit a bill to the Storting with amendments to the Marine Energy Act, and enact the changes to the Marine Energy Act.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy will also commission NVE to identify new areas for the production of renewable energy offshore based on input from a directorate group, and to prepare proposals for an impact assessment program. This work is expected to take 9-12 months. The impact assessment will have to be carried out before new areas can be created, the government said.

The Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord areas had been identified back in 2020 as suitable for the development of offshore wind farms by Norway’s previous government.

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The previous government had planned to award the rights to develop the 3 GW Sørlige Nordsjø II zone in a single auction in the first quarter of 2022.

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The new government has shown support for the development of floating wind projects at the Utsira Nord zone, but has not revealed any additional details on the development timeline or any additional requirements.

Photo: Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy