Jarle Dyrdal and Agder Energi is travelling to the WindEurope event in Bilbao in April.

In 2050, the North Sea basin could be home to 50 GW installed wind power, generating 50,000 new jobs.

“This is our 50-50-50 scenario,” said Jarle Dyrdal, Business Development Manager at Agder Energi, a large utility based in Southern Norway, during day 1 of the two-days conference “Science Meets Industry” in Kristiansand.

Agder Energi is part of a consortium together with Vårgrønn (a joint venture between European energy giant Eni and Hightech Vision) and Green Investment Group (a British government initiative to accelerate the green transition, later acquired by the Macquarie Group, a global financial services group based in Australia).

The ambition is to take part in what is believed to be a fast-accelerating offshore wind industry off the coast of Southern Norway, in an area which could produce 200 terra watt hours of electricity. That translates to 150 per cent of current Norwegian output, or 10-15 per cent of estimated total European energy demand in 2050.

The area in question is the southern part of the Norwegian North Sea. An section of this area, called Sørlige Nordsjø II, is one of two areas recently made available by the Norwegian government for development of offshore wind. The Agder Energi-Vårgrønn-GIG consortium will be one of many bidders for a site in Sørlige Nordsjø II, comprising up to 3 GW of new offshore wind capacity.

“We believe Sørlige Nordsjø II will serve as a stepping-stone to 50 GW offshore wind in Norway. It will also be a huge home market and a learning ground for Norwegian offshore suppliers,” said Dyrdal.

The parallel to the development of the Norwegian oil and gas industry is obvious. Within a decade after the first oil was discovered in the North Sea, Norwegian suppliers increased deliveries from 10 per cent to approximately 60 per cent in their home market, facilitating technology innovation and building experience which later enabled Norwegian suppliers to build global positions.

“What can Norwegian suppliers extract from a 50 GW home market?” asked Dyrdal rhetorically.

“We believe the answer is NOK 120 billion annual revenue for the supplier industry. And 6,500 annual full-time employees in the Agder region alone,” said Dyrdal.

“Science Meets Industry” is organized by GCE NODE, NORCE and the University of Agder. The conference concludes Tuesday.