The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has received seven applications to participate in the tender for the Southern North Sea II offshore wind energy project area. With these submissions in hand, the ministry is set to embark on the evaluation process for these applications.
According to the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Aasland, "despite the large cost increases for the global offshore wind industry recently, there are several strong players applying to participate in the Sørlige North Sea II auction round. It is important for government investment in offshore wind. We are now starting to evaluate the various applications."
Companies such as Equinor, RWE, BP and Shell participated in the bidding process. Additionally, among the companies seeking pre-qualification for the auction was the Chinese wind turbine manufacturer, Mingyang Smart Energy. Several other previously interested consortiums declared their non-participation, including groups led by Orsted, Vattenfall, and an Eni subsidiary
The tender documents state that the ministry will prequalify a minimum of six and a maximum of eight applicants. If fewer than six applicants can prequalify, the ministry will assess whether the auction should be held.
The government has ambitions that by 2040 areas will be allocated for 30,000 MW of offshore wind production. In 2020, the first areas on the Norwegian continental shelf were opened for offshore renewable energy production, and since then the authorities have worked to determine regulations in close cooperation with companies and other offshore users. On March 29, 2023, the first offshore wind energy project areas in Utsira Nord and Sørlige North Sea II were announced.