Norway on Wednesday opened its first tenders to build offshore wind farms, including one area for floating wind, in a step to meet growing electricity demand at home and to build a new industry.
"In order to further develop Norway, the answer to almost all questions is that we need more energy production, and that is why today marks a milestone," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.
Companies are invited to bid for acreage at Soerlige Nordsjoe II phase 1, covering 605 square kilometres (235 square miles) near the border with the Danish sector of the North Sea.
The area is suitable for bottom-fixed wind-power turbines and the government offering a contract for up to 1.5 gigawatt (GW) of turbine capacity, enough to power 460,000 homes, and will be awarded to a single applicant consortium.
The government also opened bidding for licences totalling at least 1.5 GW at Utsira Nord, an area of 1,000 square km (386 square miles), located northwest of oil industry hub Stavanger and suitable for floating wind power.
The Utsira Nord permits will be split between three applicant groups, each of 0.5 GW, and each could be expanded to 0.75 GW on certain terms.
Both areas have garnered interest from a wide range of domestic and international utilities as well as oil and gas producers.
These include Equinor, Shell, BP, Orsted, Eni, RWE, and TotalEnergies.
Deadlines for applications were set for August and September this year, and anew round of tenders will be announced in 2025.
Norway, a major producer of oil and gas as well as hydropower, plans to commission up to 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040, equal to around 75% of the country's current power producing capacity.
Norwegian offshore wind areas https://tmsnrt.rs/3LZZ39G
(Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)