Grid & Offtake

The Government has decided that the grid connections for the first offshore wind projects shall be constructed, owned and operated as a production radial to the Norwegian onshore grid by the developers at the developer’s cost.


Offshore transmission networks

For the first phase of Sørlige Nordsjø II (SN II), and for Utsira Nord (UN), the Government has in the tenders for the opened areas, published on March 29 2023, decided that the offshore wind projects at SN II first phase and UN will be connected to the Norwegian mainland through a production radial, that shall be constructed, owned and operated by the developers at the developers’ cost. The onshore grid installations will still require a license according to the Energy Act.

The MPE has stated that the offshore energy regulations will have to be changed, in order to impose a requirement for third-party access to the grid on the grid owner. The MPE has stated that the third-party will have to bear the costs of third party access, and that the grid owner has no investment obligation in order to facilitate the grid connection for third parties.

The offshore wind projects will furthermore according to the MPE have to pay a grid investment contribution for the necessary development and upgrades of the onshore grid, according to the onshore grid regulations. Statnett will be tasked to estimate what measures are necessary in order to facilitate the onshore grid connection, and to calculate the grid investment contribution for the offshore wind projects.

For UN, the MPE has stated that a coordinated grid solution with a joint grid connection for the offshore wind projects could be a rational and effective grid solution. Statnett is tasked by MPE to review relevant grid connection solutions, and the MPE will post more information on possible grid solution and Statnett’s review on the MPE’s websites in the near future.

For SN II, the MPE has stated that the radial will be owned and operated by the developer of the offshore wind farm, as long as the radial is connected to the offshore wind farm and a few other users. In the case of a reclassification of the radial to transmission grid, the radial will have to be sold to Statnett. Compensation and other terms and conditions for the sale during the support period under the Contract for Difference (CfD), will be regulated in the CfD.

The government has expressed that further clarifications on grid connection will be given prior to the award of an area. However, the Government has also stated that not all grid connection questions will be resolved prior to the award of the opened areas.

The Government has furthermore stated that a hybrid solution may be applicable in a secondary phase of Sørlige Nordsjø II, when hybrid solutions have been further assessed and legal issues in this regard further examined. A key legal issue in this regard is the ownership and operation of offshore interconnectors (cables between countries) in a hypothetical multi-national offshore grid. Under the Norwegian Energy Act, the main rule is that only the transmission system operator (TSO, Statnett SF) may own and operate an interconnector. Following a change in the Energy Act in 2021, made in anticipation of the development of an offshore grid system, an exception has been made for hybrid grid solutions connected to an offshore wind farm. A permit to own and operate such interconnectors may thus under certain circumstances be granted to other companies than Statnett, including the owner/operator of the offshore wind farm.

Statnett will be formally appointed as the transmission system operator under the Offshore Energy Act for offshore cables and grid. Furthermore, Statnett will have responsibilities in relation to planning and coordination of the offshore grid.

Offshore «hubs» are planned to be developed by several players in other jurisdictions. With the MPE’s decision for the initial phase of Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord, there is currently no plan for Norwegian part-taking in such hubs.

With regard to off-take from floating offshore wind installations, we anticipate that electrification of petroleum installations may be relevant due to the projects’ expected locations, in addition to connections to the main onshore grid. The MPE has in the tender documents for SN II mentioned ConocoPhillips letter to the MPE on February 14 2023 regarding the possibilities of electrification of the Ekofisk field as a possibility for third-party offtake for SN II, and the MPE has stated that a possible grid connection of the Ekofisk field will not result in changes to the maximum installed capacity for SN II first phase, or the right to support under the CfD.