NOWC hearing for the Guidance for Offshore Wind in Norway

Consultation statement – Guide for area allocation, licensing process and applications for offshore wind power

“Translated from Norwegian using Google Translate”

Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster is a cluster within the Innovation Norway Arena program. The cluster has around 300 members and aims to establish globally leading supply chains for offshore wind.

Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster is pleased that the process of allocating areas on Utsira North and Southern North Sea is now being initiated. Establishment of a domestic market will be very important for building a strong Norwegian supplier industry within offshore wind, and especially within floating offshore wind, where Norway currently has a leading position.

The cluster will therefore point out three important elements in that context:

1) The time aspect is important for Norway to maintain a leading role in floating offshore wind

2) It must be ensured that the development of Utsira North and the Southern North Sea contributes to building a strong Norwegian supplier industry.

3) Norway must be a leader in developing new technology that reduces costs associated with the development of offshore wind.

Progress

Norway has played a leading role in the development of floating offshore wind. The fact that Norway is a leader in the industrialization of floating offshore wind will be of great importance for the development of the Norwegian supplier industry. We see that there is high activity and great ambitions in many countries. With the timetable set, there is a risk that the first wind farms will become operational after 2030. Norway is currently a leader in the development of floating offshore wind technology, and it will be very important for the establishment of leading supply chains that the first floating wind farms of industrial size is established in Norway.

Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster is concerned that the licensing process proposed by the Ministry in the consultation documents will take too long, and that this will reduce the opportunities for establishing a strong Norwegian supplier chain in offshore wind.

We ask the Ministry to reconsider the timeline with a view to whether it is possible to run certain processes in parallel and whether it is possible to shorten deadlines and case processing times. One example is the pre-qualification of Utsira Nord. An allocation must be made here based on one set of criteria. In our view, the criteria for pre-qualification can be included in the overall criteria for award, and one can then reduce the time spent in the process.

In the appendix, we have given an account of specific input on how the first Norwegian wind farms can be established more quickly.

Diversity

To ensure the greatest possible diversity, both Utsira North and Southern North Sea II should be divided into several areas. With more developers, more supply chains will form and also alternative views on technologies. Such a dynamic will contribute to building a strong and internationally competitive Norwegian industry.

At the same time, the allocated areas must be of such a size that it is possible to build wind farms on a commercial scale that allows for scale effects and associated cost reductions in the production and installation process.

We believe that at Utsira Nord, more areas should be allocated with the possibility of 500 MW each. In May 2021, the cluster received a study from Aabø PowerConsulting 1 which indicates that there is capacity in the existing network to a minimum of 2.7 GW from Utsira Nord. When building a power line from Blåfalli to Gismarvik as a license application from Statnett, this capacity will be expanded to a minimum of 4.8 GW from Utsira Nord. This shows that there is sufficient capacity in the network to be able to handle several projects from Utsira Nord

We see a risk that some of the allocated areas for various reasons do not end up with an investment decision. One will then lose considerable time. We would therefore recommend that 5 areas with a capacity of 500 MW be allocated to each of these.

Award criteria

Criteria must be established that ensure a strong Norwegian industry at the same time as one is aware that the largest market for deliveries to offshore wind projects will be international.

We believe it should be set as a prerequisite that Norwegian wind farms are to be operated from a Norwegian base and with an operating organization located in Norway.

HSE culture and understanding is an area in which Norwegian companies have a strong tradition. And where one can add significant expertise to the international offshore wind industry. Such competence should therefore be included as part of the criteria.

We would also recommend that minimum requirements be set for the content and scope of environmental mapping, impact assessments and conflict mitigation measures. The various developers should also be encouraged to collaborate and coordinate this work.

We would also recommend that the ministry asks the players to give an account of how they want to develop the supply chain. And that this is made binding for those who are allocated space. Here is an experience from Scotland where so-called “Supply Chain Development Statements” have been used, which the developers must submit in their applications with regard to the level and location of the use of subcontractors. Such a statement can then be made binding on the consortium.

The allocation model for the Southern North Sea II should also be given qualitative criteria. The southern North Sea II is deeper than many other areas for similar bottom-fixed offshore wind, and it is therefore possible to develop technologies and solutions adapted to the deeper part of the bottom-fixed segment. Norwegian companies here have an opportunity to take a stronger position than one has today on traditional monopiles. Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster recommends that at the current stage no auctions are used onSouthern North Sea II.

Power Grid

The supervisor concludes that connections to power grids are project-specific facilities that must be paid for by the individual developer. Statnett which is to be the operator of the network for landfall and connection to the network on the mainland, or as a possible international connection. It will be important that Statnett has clear guidelines for prioritization and capacity so that this coordination process does not delay the developments.

The cluster believes that it is natural for Statnett to take on such a role for Utsira Nord as well, where there will probably be more developers to be connected to the network and where there will be significant gains related to common infrastructure.

The EU’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and where offshore wind is intended to play a significant role means that the demand for electric power produced from offshore wind will increase significantly. Here, too, the EU’s target of a 55% reduction by 2030 will mean that demand will already reach 2030.

The cluster therefore agrees that it should be planned for the Southern North Sea to have a network connection both to Norway and to the continent. Norway has the potential to become a major exporter of green electric power, and such a hybrid project on the Southern North Sea can contribute to useful experiences.

The cluster is also of the opinion that areas with an expected production capacity are initially allocated. However, area use can be an important competitive advantage that reduces area conflicts and costs. It is therefore recommended that a higher power production could be opened based on higher area utilization if the grid situation allows it.

Summary

Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster is pleased with the process that has been set in motion to have a Norwegian domestic market for offshore wind. We will ask the ministry to have high progress so that Norwegian companies can have a strong position and that Norway can maintain its position as a leader in floating offshore wind.

Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster will work to develop cooperation between the players within offshore wind in Norway and has established a “developers forum” in the cluster. We would like to contribute to a good collaboration between developers and various interest groups in the relevant areas. We are also positive to that the ministry will establish a forum for the development of offshore wind in Norway, and would like to make a positive contribution to such a forum.

Sincerely,
Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster

Arvid Nesse
Cluster Manager

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