Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) has tasked the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) with conducting surveys in connection with awarding acreage for offshore wind.

The NPD will plan and implement a tendering process for preliminary surveys in the areas of Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord, which were opened for applications for renewable energy generation about 18 months ago.

These surveys will gather basic seismic, bathymetry, and water column data.

The Norwegian government is proposing an additional appropriation of NOK 65 million (EUR 6.3 million) for the NPD over the revised national budget (RNB) for this assignment.

The procurement process is already underway, NPD said, and the plan is for the surveys to start as early as this summer.

The MPE is working to establish a framework for awarding acreage for offshore wind projects. The licensing process will ensure that the players that are awarded acreage will conduct a project-specific impact assessment once they have been given exclusive rights to the acreage, NPD said.

The companies are expected to spend one to two years studying the impacts of the projects. The results from the NPD’s mapping will be included in the basis for the impact assessments.

”We’re very familiar with the geology on the Norwegian shelf and have extensive experience in collecting geophysical data. We’re looking forward to embarking on this assignment,” said Torgeir Stordal, the NPD’s Director for Technology, Analysis, and Coexistence.

The Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord zones have a combined capacity of 4.5 GW.

Utsira Nord is a 1,010 km2 area located to the west of Haugesund. It is suited for floating wind power, is close to shore, and provides opportunities for demonstration and larger projects.

The second area, Sørlige Nordsjø II, borders the Danish sector in the North Sea. It covers 2,591 km2 and has depths which makes it possible to develop bottom-fixed projects, but floating wind technology could also be utilised.

Earlier this week, Norway initiated an investment plan to reach 30 GW of offshore capacity by 2040. Work has already started to map possible new areas along the Norwegian coast that can be prepared for offshore wind.

Under the development plan, the next offshore wind auction is planned for 2025.

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