Norway Sets Out Ambitious Offshore Wind Expansion Plan

Norway unveiled plans on Wednesday for a big expansion in offshore wind energy by 2040 with an aim to become an exporter of renewable electricity.

The centre-left government, which has been criticized by environmental groups for giving too much concession to fossil fuel industry, set a target to develop 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2040.

Prime Minister Støre said thanks to the plan, Norway would nearly double its power output.

The government says the world still needs Norway’s oil and gas during the energy transition and hopes that developing offshore wind will allow it to build on the know-how of its existing energy industry.

Several oil and gas, utilities and engineering firms have already lined up for the plan, including Equinor, Shell, BP, Eni and Orsted.

While Norway needs more power for domestic consumption, the new plan even exceeds that expected demand growth.

The government statement said a significant portion of the electricity will be exported to other countries.

So far, Norway has opened two North Sea areas for development of up to 4.5 GW of offshore wind, with a first tender for 1.5 GW expected later this year.

Grid connections would be considered on a case by case basis and could feature hybrid cables, which connect to several markets at the same time, or direct cables to single destinations to Europe and Norway.

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, which has criticized the government for moving too slowly, has also welcomed the plan saying it will lay the foundation for industrial ocean wind development.

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