Norway has opened its first tenders to build two big offshore wind farms – and one could become the world’s first large-scale floating project.

Norway is a country of contradictions: It’s a large and unapologetic producer and exporter of oil and gas. It’s also the world leader when it comes to electric vehicle adoption. And nearly all of Norway’s electricity is generated from renewables, mostly from hydroelectricity. It’s decided to go large in the offshore wind race to meet rising electricity demand.

But Arvid Nesse of Norwegian Offshore Wind, the country’s largest wind body, said:

This is not a competition just for the sake of competing. We know from bottom-fixed offshore wind that early entrants to the market remain market leaders globally.

It’s possible for us to get floating turbines in the water before 2030 if the process goes swiftly, which would be ahead of the Scots who allocated areas in early 2022.

The country has put up two areas for auction: Utsira Nord, which Nesse is referring to, will become the offshore floating wind farm. An area of 1,000 sq km (386 sq mi), northwest of Stavanger, is open for bidding for licenses totaling at least 1.5 GW, with permits split between three applicant groups of 0.5 GW each, and could possibly be expanded to 0.75 GW. Nesse says it could become the world’s first large-scale floating offshore wind farm.

Southern North Sea II (Sørlige Nordsjø II) will feature bottom-fixed wind turbines. Its first phase will be 605 sq km (235 sq mi) in size. The Norwegian government is offering a contract for up to 1.5 GW of capacity to just one candidate. This wind farm is expected to produce enough power for 460,000 homes.

Application deadlines are set for August and September this year, and a lot of interest from both Norwegian and international wind companies is expected.

Norway is going big overall on offshore wind: it’s aiming for up to 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040, which is the equivalent of about 75% of its current power producing capacity.

Photo: METCentre/Map: Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

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