Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland
Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland
Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland. Photo: Naina Helen Jåma NTB / Kommunikasjon
Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland

Norwegian government prioritises industrial development in its offshore wind plans

The Norwegian government’s commitment to allocate areas for 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040 is primarily aimed at establishing a new foundation for the country’s supplier industry, according to recent statements made by the Minister of Petroleum and Energy to online newspaper Nettavisen. Developing offshore wind to that level will require investments of upwards of 1,000 billion NOK. Minister Terje Aasland sees this investment as a crucial step in positioning Norway within the global market.

Amidst concerns about high costs and the need for substantial subsidies, Aasland emphasises the strategic importance of this venture. The recent wavering of several major companies in building out offshore wind projects, coupled with the UK’s increased subsidies in the sector, has sparked debates about the viability and cost-effectiveness of such investments. The UK’s willingness to guarantee a price of up to 3 NOK per kWh for offshore wind energy highlights the expense involved, surpassing even the costs of nuclear power plants.

Despite these financial challenges, Aasland remains firm in his belief in the potential of Norwegian offshore wind. He points out the broader benefits, beyond just renewable energy and emissions reductions. The focus is on creating a robust domestic market, driving advancements in floating technology, platform development, and high-voltage direct current (HVDC) connections. This approach aligns well with Norway’s expertise in laying power cables for offshore installations.

The European market in the North Sea alone is expected to be ten times larger than Norway’s domestic demand, presenting significant opportunities for the Norwegian supplier industry. This vision bridges the gap between the traditional oil and gas industry and the emerging offshore wind sector, leveraging decades of experience and technological advancements.

While nuclear power remains a contentious issue, with the government reluctant to invest in research and development, Aasland acknowledges the potential of small modular reactors (SMRs) and their role in the future energy mix. However, he emphasises the lack of an industrial dimension in the nuclear sector within Norway.

The government’s stance on offshore wind investment is not just about energy production but also about nurturing an industrial ecosystem that can thrive in the global renewable energy market. This strategic choice reflects a broader vision of the energy transition, where economic and industrial development play a pivotal role.

Read the original article (in Norwegian) on the Nettavisen website: Regjeringen har ett argument for havvind som er viktigere enn alle andre