Regulatory overview

The Offshore Energy Act, the Offshore Energy Regulations and the Energy Act (including its Regulations) form the key regulatory framework for offshore renewable energy production in Norway.

The Offshore Energy Regulations were passed on June 12th 2020 and came into force 1 January 2021. The award system stipulated in the regulations can be seen as a hybrid between the regulations for onshore wind power and the petroleum regulations as it contains key elements from both sectors.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) has on June 11th 2021 proposed amendments to the Offshore Energy Regulations and also guidelines for the offshore wind licensing process detailing the criteria for awarding licenses and the awarding mechanisms. The principal rule will be an auction-based system. This will particularly be applicable for the areas relevant for bottom-fixed installations. For areas where the Norwegian State has particular aims, such as technological development related to floating installations, qualitative award systems may be utilized.

The proposed regulatory amendments can primarily be seen as a detailing of the current licensing regime. With these specifications the government aims to provide a higher degree of predictability and clarity to stakeholders in general, and potential licensees in particular. The guidelines further flesh out the content of the existing and proposed licensing process. More on this under section «Licensing Regime».

Key acts and regulations

  • Offshore Energy Act
  • Offshore Energy Regulation
  • Renewable Energy Act
  • Renewable Energy Regulation
  • Planning and building Act

For more information on the individual acts and regulations see the proposed guideline for the application process for offshore wind, in particular pages 13 – 14. The proposed guidelines can be found here (Norwegian only). An English summary of the guidelines can be found here.

In June 2021 the Norwegian Government also presented the much-anticipated white paper on long-term value creation from Norwegian Energy Resources, «Putting Energy to Work» («Energi til arbeid» Meld. St. 36 (2020-2021)). The white paper details (amongst other topics) Norway’s energy ambitions within offshore wind, both in an industrial and environmental perspective and can be found here (Norwegian only). An English summary of the white paper can be found here.

In February 2022 the Norwegian Government reaffirmed its position on primarily utilizing an auction-based system for awarding licenses for offshore wind production, which is not yet formally adopted. During the spring of 2022 a white paper with proposed alterations to the offshore energy law and regulations regarding the auction process is expected, including but not limited to the auctioning model, and award criteria. On the same occasion, the government also presented a white paper regarding further sectioning of the Sørlige Nordsjø and Utsira areas that will be subject to a public hearing.