By Lefteris Karagiannopoulos
OSLO (Reuters) - Declining costs and rising power prices mean major new wind farms could be built in the south of Norway without subsidies, the country's state-owned grid operator said on Thursday.
The report by Statnett is part of an analysis that Norway's energy regulator NVE is putting together on the potential for increasing the country's wind power generation, which currently has a total estimated capacity of about 1.3 gigawatt (GW).
"The development of increased European and Nordic power prices combined with continued declining operating and development costs has made it profitable to build wind power without subsidies in Norway," Statnett said.
The analysis said a large amount of wind power could be generated in southern Norway without creating new bottlenecks in the main grid.
However, Statnett added that: "without significantly higher consumer growth and possibly more network capacity, northern Norway and the northern parts of central Norway appear less favourable for further wind power development."
Statnett did not give a figure for the amount of new wind capacity that could be built.
Norway's current wind capacity is behind that of neighbour Sweden, although several wind farms are being built.
"There is currently more wind power under construction in Norway than is in operation, and a multiplication of wind power production in Norway is expected in the next few years," regulator NVE said earlier this week.
(Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Mark Potter)