Norway has indefinitely postponed bidding in the Utsira Nord offshore wind zone in the North Sea and extended the submissions deadline in the tender for the Sorlige Nordsjo II area by another two weeks.
The country’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced on Tuesday that EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), the body monitoring the compliance with European Economic Area rules, will need more time to make sure that the Utsira Nord auction is compatible with state aid guidelines. “The ministry wishes to spend some more time with ESA and the European Commission to gain sufficient security that these three areas can be awarded based on qualitative criteria with a competition for state aid at a later date, as the government has proposed. This must be clarified before the ministry can receive applications for project areas,” it explained.
The Utsira Nord area can host a capacity of 1.5 GW which will be allocated to three projects. The schemes were previously expected to be awarded by the end of the year.
According to the energy ministry, a new application deadline for the tender will be released “as soon as possible,” potentially in the first quarter of next year. It noted that enough time will be given to developers to update their proposals.
Meanwhile, bidding for the Sorlige Nordsjo II area, where between 1.4 GW and 1.5 GW of offshore turbines will be accommodated, has been extended to November 15 from the earlier deadline of November 1. This marks the second time the original deadline is extended.
The first phase of Sorlige Nordsjo II and Utsira Nord will be the first large offshore wind projects in Norwegian waters. The tenders for the two zones were launched in March.