Denmark will issue public tenders for offshore wind projects this year and may resume reviewing applications that had been suspended over worries of breaching European Union state aid law, the country's energy minister said on Tuesday.
The Nordic country, home to industry leaders Vestas and Orsted, will issue public tenders for 9 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind this year, as part of its goal to increase capacity fivefold by 2030, Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities Lars Aagaard said on Tuesday.
In addition to issuing public tenders, Denmark also allows energy companies to submit unsolicited applications to install renewable energy projects under a so-called "open door scheme".
The move had drawn criticism from the wind industry. "For some projects, there may be grounds for cautious optimism," Aagaard told a parliamentary hearing.
"But it is more uncertain whether this will also apply to a number of the newer applications," he added without elaborating. Aagaard said the current suspension was based on worries Denmark might breach EU state aid rules by giving energy companies the right to install wind farms on the Danish seabed without demanding payment for those rights.
"We are in a new situation where the sea territory has gained value," Aagaard said. The Danish Energy Agency currently has 33 applications under review, of which 25 were received since April last year, a significant show of interest compared to earlier years.
"It is a serious matter to put the processing of so many applications on hold, but it would be even more serious if illegal permits had been issued," Aagaard said. Danish authorities are currently working to resolve the matter with the European Commission.
(Reuters - Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Bernadette Baum)