Orsted joins local consortium for Norwegian offshore wind bids

OSLO, June 9 (Reuters) - Global offshore wind leader Orsted is joining a consortium with renewable energy firms Fred. Olsen Renewables and Hafslund Eco to develop offshore wind in Norway and bid in upcoming award rounds, the firms said on Wednesday.

For the first time Norway is opening two offshore areas to build wind farms, called Utsira Nord and Soerlige Nordsjoe II, expected to produce up to 4.5 gigawatts of power.

The consortium would bid for both areas. Soerlige Nordsjoe II is suitable for bottom-fixed turbines, while Utsira Nord is suitable for floating wind turbines, a new technology.

“The consortium has the aim to deliver both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind power, while developing the Norwegian supply chain for the expected large-scale build-out of offshore wind in Norway and in Europe,” the firms said in a statement.

Orsted, Hafslund Eco and Fred. Olsen Renewables will be equal partners, they added.

The partners highlighted the potential of the Norwegian part of the North Sea for large-scale offshore wind farms. In addition to supplying Norway, they could potentially connect to other countries in the North Sea via an offshore grid.

Oslo plans to announce an auction for two to three large-scale projects at Soerlige Nordsjoe II early next year.

Orsted, the world’s largest offshore wind farm developer, earlier this month unveiled plans to ramp up its investment in renewables to $57 billion by 2027 as it aims to become the world’s leading producer of green energy.

It has previously solely focused on bottom-fixed offshore wind, with the Norwegian partnership marking its first foray into floating offshore wind.

Fred. Olsen Renewables, a subsidiary of Bonheur, is a developer, owner and operator of renewable energy, with 12 operating wind farms at present.

Hafslund Eco is a utility wholly owned by the City of Oslo and Norway’s second-largest power producer, mostly from hydropower plants.

Reporting by Nora Buli in Oslo. Additional reporting by Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen. Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Mark Potter