Norway has announced plans to significantly expand its offshore wind power production by 2040, aiming to turn a country that has built its wealth on oil and gas into an exporter of renewable electricity.
The centre-left government, which has been criticized by environmentalists for continuing to support the oil and gas industry, has set a target of developing 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2040.
“That would almost double our electricity output,” says Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Norway, which says the world still needs oil and gas as it transitions to a cleaner energy future, believes developing offshore wind power will allow it to build on the expertise of its existing energy industry.
Oil and gas companies have joined forces to develop renewable energy in Norway
Norway has earmarked two areas in the North Sea for up to 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of floating and ground-mounted wind turbines, amid strong interest from energy companies.
A wide range of utilities, oil and gas companies and engineering firms have come together to develop offshore energy projects in Norway, including Equinor, Shell, British Petroleum (BP), Denmark’s Orsted and Italy’s Eni.
From one of the largest oil producers in Europe to an exporter of renewable energy
Norway needs more electricity for self-consumption, but the new plan far exceeds the expected demand from households and industry.
“A significant part of the electricity is exported to other countries,” the government said in a statement.
So far, Norway has opened up two North Sea areas for the development of up to 4.5 GW of onshore and floating offshore wind power, with the first tender for 1.5 GW expected later this year.
The domestic energy industry, which had criticized the government for taking action too slowly, welcomed the project’s ambitions.
“This will lay the foundation for the development of industrial sea winds,” the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said in a statement.
Watch the video above to learn more about this project.