Norwegians Identify 20 New Offshore Wind Areas

A group of Norwegian directorates led by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) has identified 20 new areas for offshore wind development. The areas, which the directorates recommended should be investigated further, are deemed technically suitable for offshore wind, with relatively low conflicts of interest. 

Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE)

This is part of the Norwegian authorities’ work towards having 30 GW of offshore wind in operation by 2040.

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The 20 new offshore wind areas identified in Norway are said to have good wind resources and relatively low conflicts of interest between the environment, fisheries and other industries. The areas are located along the entire Norwegian coast, from Skagerak in the south to the Barents Sea in the north. 

Nevertheless, the directorate group says the areas may still have some conflicts of interest, linked to, for example, aquaculture, fisheries, environmental interests, oil and gas and shipping. However, the directorate group said that within 19 of the 20 identified areas, it could be possible to develop projects which could coexist with other interests.

Before opening up any of the areas, they must go through a strategic impact assessment. Along with mapping the new areas, the directorate group has also drawn up a proposal for a study programme that sets out the framework for further investigations, which will provide a better knowledge base and facilitate the selection of the areas most suitable for the development of offshore wind.

“We don’t have a final decision today on how much offshore wind will be built and where. We will need further studies on environmental and business interests, but also on economics, effects on the power system and the need for grids. In that process, it is conceivable that some areas will be reduced or eliminated altogether”, said Kjetil Lund, Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Director.

New Areas That Could Be Put to Auction in 2025 Are Extensions to Southern North Sea II and Utsira Nord

Part of the task of the directorate group has been to create a timetable for a possible new allocation of offshore wind areas in 2025. In addition, the group was tasked with assessing whether it is possible to increase capacity in the Sørlige Nordsjø II (Southern North Sea II) and Utsira Nord, for which the Norwegian government opened the application window last month in the country’s first offshore wind auction.

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Based on the studies that have been carried out, the directorate group said it was possible to carry out an offshore wind auction in 2025, but in that case, it would have to be for extensions to the Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord areas, for which capacity expansion opportunities and new sites have both been identified.

Ahead of an award for the expansions of Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord in 2025, a separate process needs to be carried out for these two areas, where the strategic impact assessment and the opening process are combined, according to the directorate group, which said this was possible because the areas overlap with those that have already been opened up to offshore wind and where a lot of knowledge has been already obtained.

“We have little knowledge of the other 18 identified areas. These must go through the usual process of strategic impact assessment”, NVE stated in a press release.

The 18 other areas require more extensive data collection and more comprehensive involvement of stakeholders, so it will take longer to carry out a sufficiently solid assessment with the necessary involvement, meaning these areas would not go through the required process to make it to an allocation round in 2025.

Norwegian Offshore Wind, the country’s offshore wind industry organisation, has welcomed the announcement of new areas and hailed the fact that the majority of the areas are deemed suitable for floating wind.

“Norway has many advantages in floating offshore wind, and it is very positive that the analysis here shows several suitable areas for floating wind farms. Norway has been ranked number two among the world’s most interesting markets for floating offshore wind, and we are right at the top when it comes to technology development”, said Arvid Nesse, head of Norwegian Offshore Wind.

“We are pleased that consideration of fisheries is highly emphasized in this analysis. The key to our success with this development is that we find good solutions for everyone with different interests”, Nesse said.

Norwegian Offshore Wind, together with Equinor, Source Galileo, Hafslund and Deep Wind Offshore, also commissioned an analysis into potential additional offshore wind areas in Norway. The recently published analysis, performed by Multiconsult, also identified areas along the Norwegian coast that could accommodate up to 338 GW of offshore wind, most of this being floating wind.

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