Seven consortiums are currently undergoing the prequalification process for the Sørlige Nordsjø II offshore wind development project. Consortium companies include international heavyweights and strong Norwegian industry players.
Other consortiums have backed out, saying that they – based on the level of subsidies – would not enter a bid, and therefore would not ask to be considered for prequalification. Spiraling costs for offshore wind development within the last 12 months, have left several consortiums worried about the economic feasibility of the project.
Following a failed licensing round in Britain, where no bids were submitted, British authorities significantly increased subsidies for offshore wind. The Norwegian government however has not followed suit, having already increased subsidies for Sørlige Nordsjø II once – from NOK 15 to 23 billion.
“Still, with such strong consortiums entering the prequalification process, I am sure we will see bids for Sørlige Nordsjø II. A license to operate will be granted for this project, and later also for the floating offshore wind development project, Utsira Nord,” says Klausen.
These are the only two projects in the initial Norwegian licensing round. In 2025, more areas will be announced, some of them geographically close to the Agder region.
Several prequalification frontrunners have signed agreements with Windport for the building of an assembly base in Mandal, and with Southwind for an operations & maintenance base in Kristiansand.
“No matter how the Sørlige Nordsjø II auction turns out, there will be a lot of offshore wind activities in our region. Norway will serve as an important training ground for developing world-class competence and technology within offshore wind, especially within floating offshore wind,” says Sanne Jordan, Project Manager Offshore Wind at GCE NODE.
Utsira Nord is believed to be particularly important for the development of Norwegian industry.
“In contrast to bottom-fixed offshore wind, floating wind turbines represents a new technology in which Norway plays and will continue to play an important role.
The license holder at Utsira Nord will be required to use Norwegian suppliers of competence and technology to build the offshore wind farm,” says Jordan.