Norway's oil and energy ministry is considering three areas for an offshore wind tender planned for 2025, which is part of its wider goal to develop 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2040, it said on Thursday.
The ministry has tasked the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), the country's energy regulator, with evaluating three sites off Norway's south and west coasts, it said.
In April, NVE recommended 20 areas suitable for deploying offshore wind farms, but said only two of these - Soervest F and Vestavind F - would be ready for 2025.
These two areas incorporate the sites of Norway's first tender locations at Soerlige Norsjoe II, close to the sea border with Denmark, and Utsira Nord, off the south-west coast near the city of Haugesund.
In addition, NVE has now been asked to start a strategic impact assessment of Vestavind B, an area located off the west coast near the city of Bergen.
"This is an area that has good wind conditions and which has a lot of existing infrastructure," the ministry said.
It did not specify any potential installed capacity for the proposed areas.
Norway's first tenders, where submissions close on Nov. 1, are for 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of bottom-fixed offshore wind capacity at Soerlige Nordsjoe II, and up to 2.25 GW of floating offshore wind capacity at the Utsira Nord.
They are set to deliver new, green electricity from 2030 to mainland Norway to help alleviate a looming power deficit as demand from industry seeking to decarbonise their operation grows.
A wide range of companies have expressed interest in developing offshore wind in Norway, including state controlled oil and gas group Equinor.
(Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)