Press release | Date: 17/10/2023 | Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
Due to the process of notifying state aid for the offshore wind areas Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is adjusting the announcement of the project area for offshore wind in Sørlige Nordsjø II. The adjustments are made to prevent delays in the process of awarding these areas. To give stakeholders time to adjust to the changes, the application deadline has been set for 15 November 2023. This will not affect the auction date. At the same time, the progress plan for the announcement of project areas at Utsira Nord has been revised.
In the updated announcement for Sørlige Nordsjø II, the prequalification criteria for sustainability and positive ripple effects have been changed to minimum requirements that applicants must fulfil. These changes are necessary for ESA to be able to quickly approve the granting of state aid. The prequalification criterion for execution capability remains unchanged.
– In our view, our original proposal is in line with state aid guidelines. We could have spent more time with ESA to gain acceptance for this view, but it would have significantly delayed the auction for Sørlige Nordsjø II. For the sake of progress, we therefore choose to adjust the prequalification criteria. I believe that we still take into account sustainability and positive ripple effects in a good way through a model with minimum requirements,," says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Aasland.
In the announcement of project areas at Utsira Nord, the model entails that project areas will be awarded based on qualitative criteria, and that competition for state aid will be carried out at a later stage as part of the concession process. The Ministry wants to spend some more time with ESA and the European Commission to make sure that these three areas can be awarded based on qualitative criteria with a competition for state aid at a later stage, as the government has presumed. This must be clarified before the Ministry can receive applications for project areas.
– We will develop offshore wind in a sustainable manner that creates positive ripple effects. This is an important part of the government's offshore wind effort. It will be beneficial for Norway, and for the development of offshore wind. Finding suitable models that contribute to the development of floating offshore wind is especially important. Consequently, we need sufficient assurance that the model for Utsira Nord is in line with state aid regulations so that we can receive applications and allocate project areas as soon as possible, says Aasland.
These are the adjustments for Sørlige Nordsjø II:
These are the adjustments for Utsira Nord: