ATP, Denmark’s biggest pension fund, announced it has teamed up with energy firm Ørsted to put in a bid in next year’s tender for the Danish North Sea energy island - a project to build a mid-sea physical base for large-scale wind power.

“By submitting a bid together for the energy island in the North Sea, Ørsted and ATP want to make a significant contribution to Denmark’s ambitious green transition, its build-out of energy infrastructure, and shape the future build-out of large-scale offshore wind,” the two parties said in a statement.

Bo Foged, chief executive officer of ATP, said: “The North Sea energy island is a very interesting investment case for ATP, because it can contribute to good and stable pensions and develop Danish industrial positions of strength while also being a decisive lever for the green transition in Denmark.”

The memorandum of understanding signed by the two organisations involves plans to bid for the construction of the island itself, and does not include any transmission, wind farms or solar installations, an ATP spokesman said.

ATP has declined to give an estimate of the expected size of the investment, but Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper told Danish financial daily Børsen that it involved “a significant amount in the billions”.

An ATP and Ørsted bid would rival the plans announced last year to bid for the project by a consortium of PensionDanmark, PFA and the energy and fibre optic network firm Andel, backed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

The Danish parliament agreed last June to initiate the plan to build two energy islands as part of the climate agreement.

As one of the islands, the North Sea artificial island will connect and distribute power from surrounding offshore wind farms, and will be majority-owned by the state alongside one or more private actors, according to political agreements behind the project.

The island will have a minimum capacity of 3GW, with potential for expansion to 10GW in offshore wind, according to the Energy Agency.

The agency plans to start the tendering process in 2022, and announce the winner of the tender at the beginning of 2023, with the offshore wind farms being tendered out at a later time.

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