Offshore wind – licensing process in Norway

Source: press release, 3 February 2021

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy open Utsira Nord og Sørlige Nordsjø II areas for offshore renewable energy licencing (illustration: NVE)
The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy open Utsira Nord og Sørlige Nordsjø II areas for offshore renewable energy licencing (illustration: NVE)

From January 1, 2021 the Norwegian Regulation to the Offshore Energy Act entered into force, and the areas Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II were opened for offshore renewables. Due to the number of requests for information on the licensing process for offshore wind power projects, The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has established a project on offshore wind power. The purpose of the project is to consider and assess a framework allowing offshore wind resources to be developed for the benefit of the society.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy will consider offshore wind power projects when the overarching framework for the work on offshore wind power is further clarified. The Ministry will further provide clear guidance in due time. Specifically, when it becomes relevant to start the consideration of applications for licenses in the opened areas.

It will thus be possible for all interested parties to provide notice of their interest in the areas considered for development. This will occur after further guidance is provided by the Ministry. It is important for the Ministry to obtain the most complete overview possible of relevant projects.

Offshore wind power will be an important topic in the white paper on the long-term value creation from Norwegian energy resources. The white paper will encompass the opportunities this gives Norway as an energy nation. It will also provide an important point of departure to evaluate the connections between and among Norwegian energy resources.

The Ministry sees it as important to look at all relevant sides of the activity before substantial decisions are made about who will be allowed to proceed with offshore wind projects on the Norwegian continental shelf. The Ministry is preparing an elaboration of the legislative framework, and to supplement the offshore energy regulation is one option under consideration. The Ministry is therefore working on guidance for those actors who wish to develop offshore wind power projects. Finally, it should be noted that substantive changes to regulations require public consultation before they can be finalised.