In 2020 the Norwegian government opened two new areas for the development of offshore wind in Norway – Utsira Nord (up to 1500 MW) and Sørlige Nordsjø II (up to 3000 MW). At the same time, work began to identify possible new areas along the coast that were suitable for renewable energy production. On May 11, 2022 the government went further in this process by launching an ambitious long-term plan for the development of offshore wind in Norway.
The overall goal in the presented plan is to allocate areas for 30 000 MW offshore wind power production by 2040. This number corresponds very closely to the total amount of power that is produced in Norway today. To achieve this goal, the government estimates that 1500 new wind turbines should be installed within the next 20 years. The Norwegian prime minister refers to this initiative as a “milestone” in the history of Norwegian industry and energy.
In the press conference, the government stated that the large investment will allow for the use of various grid solutions, both “hybrid cables” and radials from wind farms either to Norway or to Europe. The grid solutions will be considered for each licensing process. The Norwegian Water Resource and Energy Directorate (NVE) and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy will conduct a study on the consequences of these alternatives.
The government aims to carry out the next auction for licenses for offshore wind for new areas in 2025. Subsequent allocation of areas will be done in a step-by-step model. The government emphasizes that the purpose is not to rush this process, and that it is imperative that the process is conducted gradually, such that the learning curve is beneficial for everyone.
Since the Norwegian power grid will be unable to handle the planned increase in power supply of 30 000 MW, the government stated that a prerequisite for the investment is that a significant amount of the power produced will be sold to other countries outside of Norway.