Odfjell Oceanwind, Source Galileo Confirm Joint Bid for Utsira Nord, Propose ‘Less Strict’ Qualifying Criteria
Odfjell Oceanwind and renewable energy developer Source Galileo’s Norwegian branch, Source Galileo Norge, have confirmed they will bid in the upcoming tender in Norway for the Utsira Nord area, deemed most suitable for floating wind technology, where they plan to build their UtsiraVIND project.
The two companies partnered last year, after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on developing floating wind farms using Odfjell Oceanwind’s technology. The cooperation is targeting wind farms for the electrification of oil and gas installations, the Utsira Nord seabed development, and selected floating wind parks in Europe.
As reported earlier, the seabed leases for the Utsira Nord area will be awarded based on qualitative criteria, as opposed to the Southern North Sea II (Sørlige Nordsjø II) offshore wind areas, which will be awarded through a conventional competitive auction.
In December, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy issued frameworks for the tendering processes for the two areas and opened consultation to which the potential developers have been responding.
Odfjell Oceanwind and Source Galileo informed on 9 January that they had provided input in this consultation round, with one of the main points being the ability of the chosen developers to realise their projects until 2028.
The players that are in a position to develop the projects fast should be prioritised in this award round, according to the UtsiraVIND developers, who said that the Norwegian industry would reinforce its leading position in floating offshore wind if Utsira Nord projects are developed by 2028.
Furthermore, the companies say it is important that the minimum qualification criteria for Utsira Nord are proportionate and not unreasonable strict.
In this regard, Odfjell Oceanwind and Source Galileo proposed to the government that the requirement to have at least one 300 MW offshore wind project completed be removed and that experience from offshore wind development should be emphasised instead.
The partners also suggested that the timeframe in which relevant reference projects should have been completed should be expanded to the last ten years, instead of five years that the proposed framework requires, in order to ensure a robust basis for comparison.
Odfjell Oceanwind and Source Galileo also proposed for a Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) criterion to be changed so that applicants must be able to demonstrate experience from working in a risk-based and system-oriented manner, with systematic follow-up of risks in their activity, and that fulfillment of the criterion is measured on a scale from 0-4, whereby a grade of 0 or 1 should lead to disqualification.
Namely, the partners said that developing and operating a floating offshore structure in the North Sea required special competencies which could not be compared to onshore wind or fixed-bottom offshore wind.
“The criteria should reflect that HSE is an important area of expertise and should therefore be made the subject of a closer quality assessment based on an account of the applicant’s experience, philosophies and management systems, and not only assessed as a ‘pass/fail’ criterion, as has been proposed”, the companies state.
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