The Norwegian continental shelf features some of the world’s best and most stable wind resources. Norway and Norwegian industry are thus well placed to establish a position in a growing offshore wind power market, which may potentially create tens of thousands of new jobs along the entire coastline.
Thommessen is closely monitoring developments and actively addressing the critical factors in enabling Norway to succeed as an offshore wind power provider. We will provide a brief summary of the process as currently envisaged on the part of the authorities below.
- Opening of areas: Licensing under the Offshore Energy Act can only be granted in specifically defined areas that are open for the construction of offshore wind. Therefore, the first step in the licensing process is that an area must be opened for a licensing process related to energy production at sea.
- Division and announcement of tender areas: After an area is opened for the licensing process, it is usually divided into smaller tender areas. These tender areas are then announced. The announcement acts as an invitation for interested developers to participate in the competition for an exclusive right to develop an offshore wind project within the specified area. The announcement provides detailed information about the specific tender areas, including any pre-qualification requirements, documentation requirements, and any other allocation criteria that will be applied to the respective tender areas, as well as information about deadlines.
- In case of prequalification requirements: If the Ministry of Energy (ED) sets a prequalification requirement, applicants must be prequalified to participate in the application process. The prequalification requirements and the deadline for submission of necessary documents will be specified in the announcement. The ED decides which applicants are ultimately prequalified.
- Allocation: The next step is the competition for the allocation of exclusive rights to develop the project. The allocation is made either by auction or by an assessment based on qualitative allocation criteria, or a combination of both. Allocation by auction occurs when applicants bid on a tendered area. Allocation based on qualitative criteria is carried out based on a comprehensive assessment on objective, transparent, and non-discriminatory terms. Regardless of the method chosen, it is the Ministry of Oil and Energy (ED) that makes the final decision on the allocation of the area.
- Notification with proposal for project-specific assessment programme: Once the areas are allocated, the applicant must submit a notification with a proposal for a project-specific assessment program, no later than six weeks after the allocation. The proposal should contain descriptions of, among other things, the energy facility, possible development solutions and costs, issues to be assessed, and information about the applicant. The proposal is sent for consultation and is then determined by the Ministry of Oil and Energy (ED).
- Licensing decision and detailed plan: Once the project-specific assessment program is established, developers have two years to conduct the assessment and submit a licensing application. The concession application should include, among other things, information about the applicant, a description of the planned project, estimated installed capacity and annual production, cost estimate, and potential conflicts with other interests. The licensing application must be sent for consultation before the Ministry of Energy (ED) can make a decision. A construction licensing for offshore wind is granted for up to 30 years, counted from the commissionin
Subsequently, and no later than two years after the licensing decision, the developer must design a detailed plan to be submitted to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) for approval. The application should provide information on and describe the planned construction of the facility and account for financial, resource, technical, environmental, and safety aspects of the development and operation of the facility. The detailed plan also needs to be sent for consultation before it can be approved. Once the NVE has made a decision on the approved detailed plan, the facility must be built and put into operation within three years.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more about the licence application process for offshore wind power in Norway.