By Nora Buli
OSLO (Reuters) - Norway has earmarked two areas in the North Sea to accommodate up to 4.5 gigawatt (GW) of floating and bottom-fixed wind turbine capacity and plans for 30 GW of capacity by 2040 amid strong interest from energy firms.
A first tender for 1.5 GW is expected by next year at Soerlige Nordsjoe II, some 2,590 square km and bordering the Danish sector of the North Sea, which is suitable for bottom-fixed wind power turbines.
Utsira Nord, an area of 1,000 square km (386 square miles), is located northwest of the oil industry capital Stavanger and is seen as suitable for floating wind power.
Companies and joint ventures that have confirmed their interest are:
Sweden's Vattenfall has joined Seagust, a joint venture between industrial investment firms Arendals Fossekompani (AFK) and Ferd, seeking to bid for both areas.
Shell is partnering with local utilities BKK and Lyse to prepare bids for both Utsira Nord and Soerlige Nordsjoe II.
British oil major BP announced it will join Norway's Statkraft and Aker Offshore Wind to bid for permits in the southern area.
Separately, Statkraft and Aker Offshore Wind teamed up with Ocean Winds, a joint venture of France's Engie and Portugal's EDP for a floating offshore wind bid.
Denmark's Orsted has formed a consortium with Fred. Olsen Renewables, a subsidiary of Bonheur and utility Hafslund-Eco, which plans to jointly develop offshore wind in both areas.
Equinor will seek acreage in both areas. It is planning a bid with Eni renewables unit Vaargroenn for a floating offshore wind farm at Utsira North and has teamed up with Germany's RWE and Norsk Hydro for a planned wind farm at Soerlige Nordsjoe II.
Germany's EnBW and several Norwegian partners, including wholesale and retail food supplier Norgesgruppen, have announced the Norseman Consortia initiative to develop a 1.4 GW wind farm in the Soerlige Nordsjoe II area.
Italy's Eni and Norway's HitecVision have formed the Vaargroenn joint venture and seek acreage at Soerlige Nordsjoe II together with utility Agder Energi and Macquarie's Green Investment Group (GIG).
Separately, Agder Energi and GIG have announced plans to bid for offshore wind acreage at Utsira Nord.
Magnora and TechnipFMC plan to bid for a site at Utsira Nord through their Magnora Offshore Wind partnership.
Deep Wind Offshore, a joint venture of shipping company Knutsen OAS and utilities Haugaland Kraft and Sunnhordland Kraftlag, plans projects for both sites.
A joint venture of offshore supply firm NorSea, majority owned by shipping firm Wilhelmsen and Belgian offshore wind development firm Parkwind, has said it plans to apply for licences in both areas.
(Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)