Energy majors Equinor, RWE Renewables and Hydro REIN have formed a partnership to bid for a large-scale wind farm on the Sørlige Nordsjø II lease block in the Norwegian North Sea. It comes just days after Norwegian authorities announced their intention to issue licenses to the Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II zones for offshore renewables, including offshore wind power.
“Offshore wind power offers great opportunities for Norwegian companies. In the immediate future, the market will be in other countries, but if the costs of offshore wind power continue to fall, it could become competitive in Norway as well. Now is the time to prepare for future development by allocating space for offshore renewables, ”said Tina Bru, Norwegian Minister for Oil and Energy.
The Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II zones have a combined potential to generate 4.5 gigawatts of wind power. Sørlige Nordsjø II covers an area of 1000 square miles and has depths between 53 and 70 meters, allowing the development of both fixed wind installations and floating solutions. The area borders the Danish sector of the North Sea and is ideally located for supplying electricity to Europe.
Pål Eitrheim, Equinor’s Executive Vice President, New Energy Solutions, said the North Sea has one of the best wind resources in the world, giving it the potential to become an offshore energy hub for the European market. “We have the industrial capabilities, from the turbine to the consumer, to create value and deliver renewable energy to Europe,” Eitrheim said.
The Sørlige Nordsjø II region has some of the best wind resources in the world and has the potential to provide a significant amount of renewable energy to countries aiming to transform their energy mix. The European Union and the United Kingdom have declared the ambition to reach 300 GW and 100 GW (respectively) of offshore wind capacity by 2050 in order to achieve their ambitions of net zero.
“Offshore wind will be an important part of the future energy mix to decarbonize Europe and achieve the 2050 targets,” said Arvid Moss, Executive Vice President of Hydro Energy.
Equinor and RWE have a strong track record in developing large offshore wind infrastructure projects, and they have worked together before. The companies jointly developed the 385 MW Arkona offshore wind farm in the German part of the Baltic Sea.
The development of renewables will likely eclipse oil and gas in the Scandinavian Peninsula as the world shifts to clean energy. In March, Denmark approved a plan to build an artificial island “energy hub” in the North Sea, which will provide transmission infrastructure for hundreds of offshore wind turbines with a total capacity of around 10 gigawatts.
The first three-gigawatt phase is being implemented at a cost of $ 34 billion and is expected to be operational by 2033.