Statoil important for renewable energy

Oil and Energy Minister Terje Riis-Johansen states that the group has a central role in government efforts to increase the use of renewable energy. (AP)

Oil and Energy Minister Terje Riis-Johansen states that the group has a central role in government efforts to increase the use of renewable energy. (AP)

Oil and Energy Minister Terje Riis-Johansen (Q) states that the state own oil company Statoil is important for the investment in renewable energy.

“It is necessary that large companies get involved. We need their expertise to develop new energy sources and to get costs down.” said Riis-Johansen.

Storm after Lund initiative Aftenbladet

CEO Helge Lund at Statoil has received strong reactions among the red-green party after he sowed doubt about the company’s willingness to bet on renewable energy.

In an interview with Aftenbladet, Lund said that the group will consider winding up the company’s commitment to this area and go back to being a pure oil and gas company.

Should be priority

Riis-Johansen said this is not the way to go.

There is no doubt that if we want to make technological leaps we need the big companies’ participation. We leave the premises for how Statoil will develop the amendments we made last year that renewable energy should be a priority. This is a strong signal which I think says clearly how the company will develop, says Riis-Johansen.

Great potential

Riis-Johansen on Monday, proudly presented encouraging figures for the renewable industry. A survey conducted on behalf of Intpow (Norwegian Renewable Energy Partners) shows that the renewables industry employs 40,000 people and accounted in 2008 for 62 billion of Norwegian value creation. Hydro-power producers accounted for 46 per cent of turnover.

The solar technology has increased the most, with sales growth of 1848 percent – from 441 million in 2003 to 8.6 billion in 2008.

“These are encouraging numbers, and quite different than the image that is often created by the renewable industry as an industry where there’s little positive. It happens more within the green economy than many are aware” the minister said.

Competence is world class

He describes the development as an exciting period for the sector.

The survey provides an interesting picture of a comprehensive and high-tech renewable industry. The industry also has a significant export share. Norway has world class expertise in several areas of renewable energy, network operations and power trading” said the Oil and Energy Minister.

Report statistics for the energy industry in Norway shows that more than 2,000 companies that supply products or services to the industry clean energy and environmental technology.

Not profitable enough

Helge Lund justifies their skepticism about renewable energy as not profitable enough, that Statoil does not have enough expertise.

Red-green politicians like Klassekampen have spoken to protesters and ask the government to show who has control at Statoil.

This is short-term thinking and poor strategic decisions at a time when all seek to be involved in the transition from fossil to renewable energy, says that Parliament’s Energy and Environment Committee, Erling Sande (Q).

Source: Aftenposten

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