Ten times more offshore wind plant could be built in the waters off Norway than the current government is targeting by 2040, a new report commissioned by a Equinor-led developer group has concluded.

The analysis, carried out for the part state-owned energy giant along with Source Galileo, Hafslund, Deep Wind Offshore, and the Norwegian Offshore Wind (NOW) cluster, found almost 340GW of bottom-fixed and floating wind farms could be constructed “in areas with a low level of conflict” with other maritime industries.

Using publicly available map data and a “scientifically based weighting”, the report from consultancy Multiconsult found that 46 areas – 28 in deep water and 18 in shallow – could be developed with some 156-219GW of floating wind plant and 85-119GW of bottom-fixed depending on turbine-spacing at the sites. “Other areas may also be well suited,” said the authors, but [these are the ones]with the fewest known conflicts.”

“It is uplifting to see that we have so many suitable areas in Norway, where the level of conflict is low,” said NOW head Arvid Nesse.

“But primarily this is an important database for further discussions about offshore wind in Norway,” he added, noting that Source Galileo has already made use of the report in early planning for an offshore wind farm off the west coast of the country.

Nesse said highlight the “particular emphasis [that had been] placed on coexistence with other industries” at sea.

“It is very important for the industry that we develop offshore wind alongside bird life, the fishing industry and marine life. This survey shows that it is possible to develop a formidable capacity, while at the same time taking care of several interests,” he said.

Vegard Willumsen, head of department at Multiconsult, stated: “We have made an extensive data compilation in this survey, where we have examined bird life, fishing interests and environmental concerns, among other things. There are great opportunities for floating offshore wind in particular,but there are also good opportunities for [use of other] renewable energy production [technologies] within fixed offshore wind [developments].

“At the same time, there are always consequences for the development of offshore wind that must be considered, but we believe we have identified many good areas that provide an important professional basis for the further discussion on the development of offshore wind.”

The full report (in Norwegian) is available here.

After years of wavering, Norway last month at last unveiled tenders for 3GW of fixed-bottom and floating projects, with upcoming auctions for Sørlige Nordsjø 2 (Southern North Sea 2) to be awarded into two 1.5GW phases and a further 1.5GW to be tendered on the deepwater Utsira Nord acreage via three up-to-500MW floating projects.

Despite having only two turbines turning in its waters – the Equinor-launched Hywind Demo switched on in 2008 and the Stiesdal Tetraspar prototype – Norway was recently ranked one of the world's most attractive markets” for floating wind by research specialist 4C Offshore.

Consultancy DNV calculates floating projects currently make up over 15% of the total offshore wind deployment in the global pipeline for switch-on by mid-century, equal to some 264GW of the 1,750GW slated to be installed.