Arctia's vessel MPV Pohjanmeri sailing

Seabed Survey of New Offshore Wind Area in Norway Goes to Finnish Firm

Arctia Meritaito, a subsidiary of Finland’s icebreaking, fairway maintenance, and hydrographic surveying player Arctia, has been tasked with carrying out a hydrographic seabed survey of one of the offshore wind farm areas the Norwegian government plans to auction off next year.

Arctia's vessel MPV Pohjanmeri sailing
MPV Pohjanmeri; Source: Arctia Meritaito

Thanks to a contract with the Norwegian Mapping Authority, Hydrographic Service (NHS), Arctia Meritaito will undertake a hydrographic seabed surveying of the Sørvest F offshore wind area in the North Sea as part of the Mareano programme, which maps depth and topography, sediment composition, biotopes, and habitats in Norwegian waters. This marks the third time the firm has participated in the programme, which is financed by Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Commenting on the contract award, Lauri Pöyhönen, SVP of Arctia’s Marine Survey Services, highlighted: “The Norwegian Mapping Authority quality requirements are one the highest in the world and being awarded another contract is a demonstration of trust in Finnish expertise in this field. Each year of collaboration also presents a great opportunity to develop this expertise in an international environment.”

According to NHS, the Finnish company will use a multibeam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler to survey the Sørvest F offshore wind area. The survey will be conducted by the 1979-built Pohjanmeri multipurpose research vessel (MPV), which was upgraded in 1997 and 2016.

While the departure to the Norwegian waters is expected as soon as the ice has cleared, the vessel is slated to return to Finland near the end of the summer. With a length of 78.3 metres, a beam of 11.6 metres, and an operational draught of 3.2 metres, the MPV Pohjanmeri has a speed of 18 knots.

As Norway sees offshore wind development on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) as a way to step up access to renewable energy, the country’s government has plans to allocate acreage for 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2040.

Last year, the Norwegian government commissioned the country’s Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) to carry out strategic impact assessments of three offshore wind areas that may be opened and put out to tender in 2025.

For the tendering round in 2025, NVE recommended expanding the already open areas Sørlige Nordsjø II (Southern North Sea II) and Utsira Nord (Utsira North) with two areas named Sørvest F and Vestavind F. In addition to these two areas, the government plans for a strategic impact analysis to also be undertaken for a third area, Vestavind B.

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The doors of the Norwegian NCS were first opened for offshore wind energy generation in 2020.

After the first project areas for offshore wind at Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II were announced in 2023, the Norwegian authorities conducted an auction in March 2024 to award 1.5 GW in Sørlige Nordsjø II, which went to Belgian developer Parkwind.

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The same month, the government announced that the award of 1.5 GW of floating wind capacity art Utsira Nord, which was planned for this year, will be held in 2025 as it plans to have the subsidy model in place and announced before allocating the Utsira Nord offshore areas for development.

While the tender for fixed-bottom offshore wind capacity at Southern North Sea II was based on the CfD model, the capacity at Utsira Nord will be awarded through a competition based on qualitative criteria which will, among other things, facilitate innovation and technology development in floating offshore wind.

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