Norway on Wednesday opened tenders for two areas in the North Sea to build wind parks that could produce some 3 gigawatt (GW) of electricity, in a first step towards a goal of producing 30 GW by 2040, garnering strong interest from energy firms.
Soerlige Nordsjoe II, bordering the Danish sector of the North Sea, is suitable for bottom-fixed wind turbines. It will be developed in two phases, with an initial 1.5 GW offered to supply Norway only.
Utsira Nord is located northwest of oil industry capital Stavanger and is suitable for floating wind turbines. Three licenses for 0.5 GW capacity each are on offer.
Companies and joint ventures that have confirmed their participation are:
Shell has partnered with local utilities Eviny and Lyse to prepare bids for both Utsira Nord and Soerlige Nordsjoe II.
BP announced it would join Norway's Statkraft and Mainstream Renewable Power, previously operating as Aker Offshore Wind, to bid for permits at Soerlige Nordsjoe II.
Statkraft and Mainstream Renewable Power have also teamed up with Ocean Winds, a joint venture of France's Engie and Portugal's EDP for a floating offshore wind bid.
Denmark's Orsted has formed the Blaavinge consortium with Fred. Olsen Renewables, a subsidiary of Bonheur and utility Hafslund-Eco, which plans to jointly develop offshore wind in both areas.
Equinor is working together with Germany's RWE and Norsk Hydro for a bid at Soerlige Nordsjoe II.
It will also bid at Utsira Nord together with Vaargroenn, a joint venture of Italian Eni's renewable offshoot Plentitude and Norway's HitecVision.
RWE is also planning a bid for Utsira Nord as part of another consortia, together with northern Norwegian utility NTE and contractor firm Havfram, majority-owned by HitecVision.
Vaargroenn has also formed the Brigg Vind consortium with Norwegian utility A Energi and Corio Generation, part of Macquarie's Green Investment Group, for a bid at Soerlige Nordsjoe II.
Separately, A Energi and Corio Generation have announced plans to bid for offshore wind acreage at Utsira Nord.
French energy major TotalEnergies is part of the Skjoldblad consortium, together with Spain's Iberdrola and Norwegian firm Norsk Havvind, that will be participating at both sites.
Sweden's Vattenfall has joined Seagust, a joint venture between industrial investment firms Arendals Fossekompani (AFK) and Ferd, seeking to bid for both areas.
Germany's EnBW and several Norwegian partners, including wholesale and retail food supplier Norgesgruppen, have announced the Norseman Consortia initiative to develop a 1.4 GW wind farm in the Soerlige Nordsjoe II area.
Magnora Floating Wind and TechnipFMC plan to bid for a site at Utsira Nord through their Magnora Offshore Wind partnership.
France's EDF is working on bids for both sites together with Deep Wind Offshore, a joint venture of shipping company Knutsen OAS and utilities Haugaland Kraft and Sunnhordland Kraftlag.
A joint venture of offshore supply firm NorSea, majority owned by shipping firm Wilhelmsen and Belgian offshore wind development firm Parkwind, has said it plans to apply for licenses in both areas.
They are joined by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners for developing floating offshore wind.
Norwegian specialist firm Odfjell Oceanwind has formed a partnership with European developer Source Galileo for a bid at Utsira Nord.
(Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Gwladys Fouche)