Equinor, the Norwegian energy company, is set to submit a proposal for pre-qualification in Norway's inaugural offshore wind auction, as confirmed by CEO Anders Opedal in an interview with Reuters on Friday.
Equinor has forged a partnership with Germany's RWE for the development of the Soerlige Nordsjoe II area, located in shallower waters near the maritime border with Denmark. Norway is offering 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity in this region.
Opedal shared insights into their strategy, saying, “At the moment, we are working to be as competitive as possible in this. It starts with the pre-qualification, and then we will see what happens after that.”
In a bid to make the project more appealing, Norwegian legislators agreed in June to increase subsidies for Soerlige Nordsjoe II by 53%, reaching a total of 23 billion Norwegian crowns (approximately $2.05 billion). This adjustment aimed to account for rising costs within the global supply chain and inflationary pressures.
However, Oslo's offshore wind plans have experienced some delays as authorities work to refine project requirements. The deadline for submitting pre-qualification applications for the Soerlige Nordsjoe II project is now scheduled for November 15.
The available areas, which also include the Utsira Nord site capable of accommodating up to 2.25 GW of floating wind capacity, have garnered significant interest from Europe's leading energy developers, including Orsted, TotalEnergie, BP, and Shell.
Nevertheless, the Seagust consortium, featuring Sweden's Vattenfall, recently declared its decision not to participate, citing insufficient subsidies as the primary reason. Seagust's CEO, Simen Elvestad, explained earlier in October, “We see that the return on the investment would be too low to meet our requirements.” The consortium still intends to take part in the Utsira Nord project, where the deadline has been postponed indefinitely to ensure compliance with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) competition rules.