Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre hopes Norway’s first major offshore wind projects will boost local competence that can spread worldwide, but opposition politicians think the projects’ start-up is slow and costs are high. Bidding for the first offshore wind licenses opened this week.
“When we get this up and going, and it’s competitive, we’ll have a product that I think the world will need,” Støre said when he and Oil & Energy Minister Terje Aasland announced the first round of competition for licenses and contracts on two areas in the North Sea: Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II.
The sites were announced last year and are expected to generate 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2040. Work on evaluating new offshore areas for wind power has begun, with the Labour-Center government aiming for another licensing round in 2025.
Critics were disappointed that the government didn’t also open all the area within Sørlige Nordsjø II, while the Conservatives and Progress Party voiced concerns about high costs and appeals that taxpayers’ subsidy will remain moderate. The Socialist Left Party is glad the government wants wind power to co-exist with other offshore ventures, but worried the government hasn’t made such demands strict enough.
For the government’s own account of its offshore wind power licensing, click here (external link to the government’s website).